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Leslie On OLG Re-Integration: "It's A Great First Step"

Published: March 13, 2013 9:32 am ET

Last Comment: March 13, 2013 10:57 am ET | 2 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

"I don't think it's a smokescreen. Naturally we've got concerns about the specifics about what that's going to mean because that hasn't been clarified yet."

In an interview published on Tuesday, Norm Borg and OHRIA's President Sue Leslie discuss Friday's announcement made by Minister of Agriculture & Food Kathleen Wynne concerning the intent for Ontario's government to bring horse racing back into the OLG's land-based gaming strategy.

"It certainly is a very positive move and a substantial change when a new Premier, this far into her leadership, is making a major policy change by integrating," stated Leslie. "We view it as a positive and [with] reserved optimism because we've got a long way to go."

When asked why the deals haven't been publicly presented with financial specifics and what the gaming strategy will be, Leslie gave her side and didn't bash the new Liberal government.

"Really, the Cabinet has only been in place for three weeks. I'm sure the change in policy wasn't popular at the OLG, so changing these kinds of things takes time and if we've learned nothing else about government in the this past year it's how slow they move to do anything."

Borg then asked about how the OLG will treat racing with the industry, in his words, being "thrust upon [Paul Godfrey] against his original plan" to which Leslie replied that "the Premier and Finance Minister [Charles Souza] control Paul Godfrey, or supposed to, certainly it seems in the last administration that wasn't the case, and that's why I think the move on Kathleen Wynne's part is pretty substantial.

"I don't foresee the negotiations going forward being with Paul Godfrey. I see them being with the Transition Panel, first and foremost, and then through them to Finance and to the Premier's Office and to OMAFRA."

While discussing the possible future revenue streams pledged to racing last Friday, Borg then asked if this movement by the Transition Panel to refocus the industry's energy on the core product could be a "bitter pill to swallow" but ultimately better for all involved.

"In a sense I do, Norm, because, gee, if we haven't all learned a lesson through all this about the importance of our core product I guess nothing will teach us," noted Leslie. "It definitely has to be a priority."

To listen to the full interview with Borg and Leslie, click the play button below.

Sue Leslie - OHRIA March Update
Audio Format: MP3 audio
Host: Norm Borg

March 13, 2013 - 10:57 amVery informative and Norm

John Rich SAID...

Very informative and Norm asked the right questions. Good job. The horsepeople need to have their voice and ear at the table with OMAFRA and OLG at the same time. That means some sort of educated leadership with a vision of how things will move forward as a partnership with OLG. Wynne, Godfrey and a representative for the horsepeople of Ontario all at one table at the same time. Wynne representing the government and agriculture, someone representing the horsepeople shaking hands with Godfrey and telling him how excited the horsepeople are to be in partnership with OLG. Racing finally has alittle traction don`t let up on the gas.

March 13, 2013 - 9:47 amTrust has to be earned and a

Norm Walker SAID...

Trust has to be earned and a program that has no figures or amounts is a tough pill to swallow. Paul Godfrey will not step aside easily without a fight, this Premier is fooling herself (or us) if she believes she controls Paul Godfrey & Larry Tananbaum wait until she is looking for that next election money pool.
Keep working Sue as we have no concrete race events scheduled yet for the season and some hope is better than no hope.

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