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Comments On Ontario Funding

Published: April 1, 2014 11:51 am ET

Last Comment: April 1, 2014 2:07 pm ET | 3 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Some of Ontario's horse racing participants have offered their comments in light of the Provincial Government’s Monday funding announcement.

On Monday, March 31, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food announced that the Province’s five-year plan for the Ontario horse-racing industry will provide up to $500 million in support. To read about OMAF’s announcement, click here.

Also on Monday, the Ontario Racing Commission released a list of 2014 race dates that tracks across the province have applied for. To view the applied-for race dates, click here.

In regard to the funding announcement, Hugh Mitchell, chief executive with the Western Fair District, told The London Free Press that the funding “is quite a lift for us,” and later added that southwestern Ontario is “a hotbed for racing and the trickle-down effect is huge in terms of jobs, services and suppliers to the racing industry,”

Ontario Harness Horse Association General Manager Brian Tropea also commented on the funding announcement. Tropea told Better Farming that the announcement is good news, “but it’s still a significant shortfall from what we had prior to them (the Ontario Government) ending the Slots at Racetracks program.”

Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association President Sue Leslie also provided comments to Better Farming. She said that the announcement of an additional $100 million in funding (part of the $500 million) is “very good news for the industry,” adding, that “we do now have some stability going forward.”

Leslie also warned that the announced funding does not mean everything is fine in the industry, adding that the industry still has a long road back to where it once was. “This isn’t allowing us the growth and investment into our industry that we need to stay alive,” Leslie was quoted as saying. According to the article, Leslie said that Ontario horse racing’s integration into the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.’s modernization plan is a key factor in stabilizing the industry.

Horse breeder/owner Mike Timpano has also commented on the announcement. Timpano told CTV News Barrie that the announced funding “may be helpful to the people still in it (the industry), but what about the people who got destroyed over the past two years?”

(With files from Better Farming, CTV News Barrie and The London Free Press)

April 1, 2014 - 2:07 pmKent Baker is exactly right

Peggy Powell SAID...

Kent Baker is exactly right when he says that only 25% exsists today. We had the best model for racing that there is . So good , in fact that many others are modeling their's after our old , successful model. Now we have the most innovative alliance in the world, according to the government. The problem is that same innovative alliance has produced a subsidy from the tax payers and they won't stand for it after the 5 years are up. The OLG has a lot of work to do if they are going to integrate us into their plan and come up with any kind of usefull tool that will bring enough money into the Industry in order to sustain it into the future. Slots at racetracks was the perfect tool. I haven't heard any new ideas yet. If they had listened to Mr. Sadinsky or Mr. Drummond , as they stated they did, we would be in fine shape today. Just like the gas plants, they under estimated the impact of their irresponsible decision. Many millions will be lost by the province and many horse persons that try to tough it out in Ontario will be bankrupt and maybe homeless on welfare. How did this mess help anyone?

April 1, 2014 - 1:15 pmFirst off, let's look at this

Georg Leber SAID...

First off, let's look at this for what it is. The Liberals are in all kinds of trouble and they are in damage control mode. Kind of like cancelling Gas Plants to save a few seats.

Perhaps our share of SARP was not what the government wanted to give us but to just scrap a program is irresponsible. If they took the 25% shared by Tracks, Purses and Municipalities, and negotiated it down to 22% and then 20% over 2 years and took a benchmark then that would have been much easier on everyone including the government. Slot wagering is down too because of race date reductions so another loss.

Liberals were trying to put a spin on this pitting Health and Education against millionaire owners. This is great press and the Liberal newspapers (incredible bias) ate this up. People in general don't understand macro economics.

So here is a real example-ICR Racing had 37 horses. Now I have 19 and as of Sept I will have 12. 6 will race in the USA. So my investment as a small player is down $350,000 per year. The USA will get half of my investment and my Ontario investment will be down to 10% of what it was. I will have gone down from 12 people handling my horses in Ontario to 1.5. Who wins and loses there?

I'll bet the Mayor of Innisfil wishes she told the OLG "no" now that she realizes that Georgian will be open 40 days this year for racing and the restaurants won't open again.

In the end the people will lose hand over fist and they won't know why their taxes are higher, hydro is higher and jobs are fewer. We know and can't do anything about it except move like the manufacturing jobs out of Ontario.

Georg Leber-ICR Racing

April 1, 2014 - 12:20 pm"In the first fiscal year

Norm Brunet SAID...

"In the first fiscal year after the slots-at-racetracks program was cancelled, slots revenue at racetracks decreased by $120 million, according to the OLG. Horsemen argue races brought more people to the track – and more people means more gambling."

Add to that the cost of local and foreign investment that was withdrawn from this province and other losses like jobs, breeders and horseman's personal losses and you will by far exceed what SARP was costing this government.
All they had to do is read the Sadinsky REPORT and follow Drummond's recommendations but no they had to re-invent the wheel. Looking forward to the Auditor Generals report.

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