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Annual Cost To Ontario If Racing Partnership Ends: $1.1 Billion


Published: February 26, 2012 10:37 am ET

Last Comment: February 27, 2012 2:05 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

OHRIA has stated that the province would stand to lose more than a $1 billion annually from its the partnership with the horse racing industry should the government follow the recommendations in the Drummond Report.

Finance Minister Dwight Duncan has been falsely referring to the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Slots at Racetrack revenue sharing program as a subsidy. His claim is that the Government has been providing a $345 million annual subsidy to Ontario’s Horse Racing Industry. In a recent fundraising email to supporters, the Ontario Liberal Party suggested that they are “choosing to support our youngest learners over wealthy race track owners”.

Duncan’s plans to save the Government $345 million from this alleged subsidy, would actually result in adding another $1.1 billion to Ontario’s already out of control deficit. According to OLG’s financial statements, the Government of Ontario is receiving $1.1 billion per year from the Slots at Racetracks Program. The horse racing industry, which has made space available to OLG slots and allowed competition between the slots and horse racing at their facilities, receives only 20% of the revenue from the slots. The Government walks away with 75% of the slots revenue and host municipalities receive 5%.

If the Liberals end the Slots at Racetrack program, they will be forced to cut an additional $1.1 billion a year from Ontario’s budget. This represents nearly 75% of the cost of full day kindergarden or three times the cost of the Liberal’s 30% tuition reduction.

“The Ontario Liberals need to make a decision. If they want to see the government revenue stabilize and grow, they can’t be ending programs that generate $1.1 billion a year for the Government, which is exactly what Dwight Duncan is proposing to do,” said Sue Leslie, President of the Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association. “They can’t have it both ways. If they end the Slots at Racetrack program, they will lose $1.1 billion of revenue each year. We are supporting Ontario’s youngest learners by generating more than a billion dollars a year for the Government,” Leslie added.

According to an economic study prepared for OHRIA in November 2011, there are 31,441 full time jobs sustained by Ontario’s Horse Racing Industry, with up to 60,000 jobs supported by the industry when factoring in part-time and casual employment.

With expenditures of nearly $2 billion in the province of Ontario and 80% of that money being spent in rural municipalities, horse racing is the second largest subsection of Ontario’s agriculture economy.

“We will continue to increase pressure on the Government to recognize the devastating impact a short sighted decision to attempt to save $345 million would have on Government revenues and the 60,000 families who rely on our industry for a pay cheque,” added Leslie.

Noteworthy links:

The OLG’s Annual Report for 2009-2010 is available on the OLG website.
The economic study prepared for OHRIA is available on OHRIA's website.

Trot Insider's ongoing coverage of the Drummond Report can be followed at the Drummond Report link found under the 'News' menu tab.

February 27, 2012 - 2:05 pmDON'T WAIT... I came from

I came from Montreal about 14 years ago - the reason for us coming to Ontario - you are about to go through what the Quebec Horsemen went through. I've been reading the articles regarding the horse racing business and the government's desire to get rid of the business.
Sounds so familiar - everything is the same - the budget, no more funding, losing money - don't let the government get a head start on this subject, you are in for a long battle and I can tell you through experience having been through something similar to this the horsemen do not stand a chance if you don't move on this quickly.

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