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If Perkins Were Gaming Czar

Published: March 19, 2012 3:42 pm ET

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"As recent polls show, not everyone wants slot machines or casinos in their backyard. The point of putting slots into racetracks was that they were in areas already zoned for gambling, away from schools and (usually) separate from residential areas."

In his most recent opinion piece for the Toronto Star, widely-respected sports journalist Dave Perkins has put on his 'Gaming Czar' hat.

With the Ontario horse-racing industry well under siege by both the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. and the Provincial Liberal Government, Perkins has brought his own personal brand of sanity to the mix.

He has offered his opinion on the highly-successful slots-at-racetracks program to the potential windfall of single-game sports wagering and the soon-to-be proliferation of regulated online gaming.

When it comes to the slots-at-racetracks program in particular, Perkins stated that it is a no-brainer that it is in place, but holds racetrack operators accountable for conditions, quality of racing, etc.

Perkins wrote:

"Restore the slots-at-racetracks plan. As recent polls show, not everyone wants slot machines or casinos in their backyard. The point of putting slots into racetracks was that they were in areas already zoned for gambling, away from schools and (usually) separate from residential areas. So keep them there, but understand that they are to be reviewed every year and that nothing lasts forever. If the tracks get run-down and/or the racing is lousy, my roving checkers will report and the place will get a yellow card and one year to clean up its act, or else be shut down. It needs to be first-class or nothing. Horse people also need to understand that as the gambling pie expands, they need to review and improve accordingly to maintain their share of it. How the industry intends to stay relevant is its problem."

Perkins also suggested that once single-game sports wagering is legalized in Canada, allow racinos to offer that form of gaming as well, a move which would bolster border tracks. He wrote, "Sports books would be particularly profitable near the border; imagine all the U.S. tourists who would have spent the past four days betting noon-to-midnight college hoops (and staying in hotels and dining and spending, etc.)."

(With files from the Toronto Star)

For Trot Insider's complete coverage regarding the fallout and uproar in response to the OLG and Ontario Liberals' treatment of the provincial horse-racing industry, click here.


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