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Report: Progress Made In Fort Erie

Published: April 2, 2014 4:21 pm ET

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A report out of the Niagara region has stated that ‘instant wagering machines’ could be key for the future of the Fort Erie Race Track and that local officials have been making progress in negotiations with the Province’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food.

On Monday, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food formally announced the Province’s five-year plan for the Ontario horse racing which will see $500 million funnelled into the industry. On Tuesday, the Ontario Racing Commission announced its decision in regard to the race-date applications for nine standardbred racetracks.

An article by Bullet News Niagara has quoted Fort Erie Live Racing Consortium CEO Jim Thibert as saying that “a brilliant move” by the office of Premier Kathleen Wynne has been key in getting the future of the historic border oval on the right track.

The report does not offer specifics, but it does state that, ‘the track expects to decrease its dependency on government funding through instant wagering machines and the incorporation of racing into the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation's modernization strategy.’

The report has quoted Thibert as saying Tuesday that “We still have a lot of negotiating to do.” A day prior, Fort Erie Council voted 6-1 in favour of earmarking $500,000 to ensure that the Fort Erie Race Track can be in the position to host a live racing meet in 2014. The money will come from the Town’s reserve fund and will be used for the track’s lease payment.

The Bullet News Niagara article is also reporting that Fort Erie is looking to host 37 live race dates in 2014 and that the dates will fall on Sundays and Tuesday evenings. The article also states that the track hopes to run 330 races this season and that opening day is planned for May 27.

(With files from Bullet News Niagara)

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