On Monday, April 28, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp., the Ontario PC Party and the Ontario NDP issued responses in regard to the Auditor General’s report on the cancellation of the Slots at Racetracks Program and the OLG’s Gaming Modernization Plan.
Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk introduced her report earlier Monday in the Ontario Legislature. To read Lysyk’s report, click here.
OLG Chair Phillip Olsson penned the OLG’s response Monday afternoon, which, in part, he stated that “The fundamental finding of [Lysyk’s] Report — that the original modernization plan was ambitious — is accurate.”
Olsson went on to write that he has “five key items that I would like to raise in response to your Report’s findings: The importance of continuing with modernization in the best interests of Ontario; the rightful evolution of the plan; the engagement of municipalities in modernization; the inclusion of job estimates that are no longer accurate; and the work OLG is doing to help build a sustainable horse racing industry.”
The OLG release contains a section titled ‘Horse racing industry success.’ The contents of that section appear below.
Horse Racing Industry Success
A year ago, the Premier asked OLG to incorporate horse racing into our plan—and it has done so. Ultimately, this will help support a sustainable horse racing industry in the province. For the past ten months, OLG has been working with the horse racing industry to extend leases; to offer market research and marketing support; and is currently developing a horse-themed gaming product. The agency requested that proponents demonstrate willingness to support horse racing integration. On Friday, OLG made a joint announcement with Ontario Horse Racing that tracks with OLG slot facilities, live race dates and five-year funding under the Horse Racing Partnership Plan (HRPP), will have the option for leases with a guaranteed term to 2019.
I do want to clarify, that, while OLG is providing its responsible gambling expertise to the horse racing industry, OLG has no jurisdiction to support or fund responsible gambling controls for horse racing.
To read the OLG release in its entirety, click here.
The Ontario PC release on the subject was critical of the Ontario Liberals, stating that the ‘OLG Modernization Plan is concrete proof that (Premier) Kathleen Wynne has no plan for jobs and no plan to balance the budget.”
In the PC release, Ontario PC Finance Critic Vic Fedeli was stated that the reigning Liberal Party was counting on lofty projected revenue streams from the OLG’s modernization plans to balance the budget. The release goes onto state that ‘The Auditor estimates the Liberals may receive only $1.8-billion in profits over five years, or 60 per cent less than the initial projection, and that private-sector capital investment may be $938 million lower than first anticipated.’
“This money was baked into their fiscal plan, and is further evidence the Liberals have no plan to balance the budget,” Fedeli was quoted as saying in the release.
The contents of the PC release appear below.
Auditor’s OLG Report More Proof Liberals Have No Plan To Balance
A highly critical Auditor General’s report on the Liberals’ OLG Modernization Plan is concrete proof that Kathleen Wynne has no plan for jobs and no plan to balance the budget, Ontario PC Finance Critic Vic Fedeli (Nipissing) said today.
“The Liberals were counting on billions of dollars in revenue in their 2012 and 2013 budgets,” said Fedeli. “Instead, the auditor says those projections were ‘overly optimistic’ and the timeline ‘overly ambitious’.”
The Auditor estimates the Liberals may receive only $1.8 billion in profits over five years, or 60 per cent less than the initial projection, and that private-sector capital investment may be $938 million lower than first anticipated.
“This money was baked into their fiscal plan, and is further evidence the Liberals have no plan to balance the budget.”
The report also says that, contrary to the Liberals’ figures, the OLG plan will result in a net loss of jobs as they didn’t factor in Ministry of Finance estimates of up to 5,800 job losses resulting from the ending of the Slots At Racetracks Program (SARP).
The report validates the Ontario PC position on horse racing, said MPP Randy Pettapiece (Perth-Wellington), who serves as PC Critic for rural affairs and the horse racing industry.
“This reports confirms what we have said from the beginning,” Pettapiece said. “The Liberal-NDP move to terminate SARP was done with no consultation or consideration of the enormous damage it would do to people in the industry.”
“It also states that the government had the information to know that their decision would mean fewer race dates, less breeding, less employment and fewer economic benefits to the agriculture industry.”
NDP Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates also released a statement on the matter late Monday afternoon, stating that the OLG modernization plan will have adverse effects on the horse-racing industry and communities.
“The Auditor confirmed today what Ontario families have known for some time: the Liberal plan to ram casinos into communities that didn’t want them and kill the horse-racing industry is going to kill jobs and hurt communities,” Gates was quoted as saying. “It’s clear that the Liberal government was spinning the numbers and now it’s families that will be stuck with the bill.”