Slots Could Leave Flamboro

Published: April 30, 2015 05:10 pm EDT

According to the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp., three to five companies could be selected to submit a Request For Proposal to run the slot-machine gaming operations at Flamboro Downs. Although, there is no guarantee as to how long the machines will stay in operation at the track.

A report by the CBC has cited OLG spokesman Tony Bitonti as saying that the company behind the successful RFP will be given a 25-year lease to operate slot-machine gaming at Flamboro, but that the lease will ‘likely’ allow the operator to relocate the machines from the track if a business case for such a move is submitted.

In regard to that scenario, Bitonti was quoted as saying "That's a possibility," adding that the winning bidder will "look at the market and see how things are going."

The CBC report states that in 2013, Hamilton Council determined that it would allow gaming within municipal borders, but that it wanted that gaming to take place at Flamboro Downs. The article goes on to state that the council signed off on the fact that the operators could look to relocate the slots if Flamboro Downs was "not a viable site." At that point, city council could conduct a vote to determine if the machines could be allowed to be in operation in another location.

(With files from the CBC)



This article is not new.

Hamilton council voting NO to a casino downtown and keep Flamboro as the place of choice for a slot facility.

All of the gaming bundles, have the ability to move the current site within a defined geographical zone. Local council would have the last say, not an operator, not the OLG, not Great Canadian. Bitonti is rehashing old propaganda.

Great Canadian, in their defense has done nothing but help stage racing at their facilities. What operator would join an Alliance and you're not allowed to make money ? The capital risk alone they are undertaking is in my mind not reasonable for a publicly traded company. Why throw money at something with no return? Yes they get funding to operate and cover costs, but how does one improve a facility ? No motivation to do so.

Great Canadian could lose the RFP of operating slots at their two owned facilities, if that happens, indeed they would be out of racing. I would do the same if I can't make money.

Flamboro has done a great job at promoting their track this year and with the Confed Cup back lots of media attention on the product. Lots of positives. The Alliance has displayed some growth in wagering numbers, the group is doing the best they can with what they have been handed.

Cutting race dates so the supply and demand can meet is best thing that happened to the industry. Still too much racing exists, especially at the grassroots levels.

Everyone needs to turn the page, face the harsh truths of racing will always need government support like it or not.

"Integration with the Horse Racing Industry" - Don't for one minute be fooled into believing that this is for the good of horse racing! This is in fact another drastic decision made by this Provincial Government, to try and recover losses it has incurred, since it decimated the horse racing here in Ontario. Wynne and (others) thought if they simply breached the Horse Racing contracts, and took 100% of the slot revenue, they would reap a windfall of dollars, to help balance the books, without having to cut spending. Well, hello out there, it backfired. They lost the tax revenue from the horse racing participants, as well as the industry spin offs, with no clients, eg., veterinarians, farriers, feed suppliers, truck and trailer sales, and the list goes on. Don't be fooled, Integrating Horse Racing with the OLG, is not to help horse racing, but rather to once again, help out this Liberal Government. Take a look at their lottery numbers. They are down, and still declining. Taking 100% of the slot revenue has backfired. Now, slot parlours at racetracks, once full on every race night, are conspicuously sparse on the former designated race nights, since the patrons who attended the races, do not drive to the track to simply visit the slots. Now the Government wants to look at relocating the slots from the racetracks, to other locations based on RFP, and no doubt already has one or two "very appreciative Liberal supporters in mind", such as Tannenbaum and his Bingo parlours. This is merely another drastic measure to try and bump up attendance, and generate more revenue for the Government, rather than admit this government made a colossal mistake in ending horse racing at two thirds of the racetracks in Ontario, and so limiting the number of days at others, as to make it absolutely financially impossible for an owner to keep/pay bills on a horse for a year to look at an 18 day race meet (Kawartha Downs)for a year. We need trustworthy and knowledgeable representation for the horse people to publicize/inform everyone of the truth, and not simply relay a "snow-job" media release. We are not ostriches...... Common Sense will tell you this Government doesn't give a damn about horse racing here in Ontario, but rather, cares only about how they are going to fulfil their promise to balance the books by 2017-18. Integration into the OLG will only turn what revenue there might be left, over to the Government, with access to whatever purses there are left, and probably signal the demise of the rest of the B tracks here in Ontario. No business can survive, being run the way this Government runs it's business. Their solution is to sell off assets, because they can't see beyond their noses. Once all their assets are gone, there is nothing to generate income, other than to raise taxes. The once toted "Best Sires Stakes program in the World", bar none, will be nothing but a "golden memory of the Good Old Days".

Mr Montroy how could we fall asleep at the wheel of the bus when we weren't even on it, we have been thrown under it. Do we really want casino owners running our tracks for another 25 yrs given their current record. Ever heard the saying you can't fight city hall? Well multiply that ten fold for queens park as they are judge,jury and executioner in this scenario. Anyone who thinks standardbred horsemen have a say in anything is sadly mistaken. I don't think there is anything we can do as the die has been cast as it becomes more evident with each new news release. Looks like the Americans will get Ontario's $ after all.

In reply to by jkchill

Mr Hill
You were on the bus all the years that the slot revenue was part of horse racing. The plan was never to enjoy this money forever. Everybody got fat and happy during these years but did nothing to clean up its image or ensure the industry would be able to sustain itself when the gravy train came to an end. Stop blaming the government and take some responsibility for today's state of affairs.

Once again you the horse people fell asleep at the wheel, but that's not only you, every citizen have been put to sleep by these fork tongues, we are being robbed by the people that are supposed to manage our tax dollars and not put them in some rich organization or peoples pockets,take a look around (senators,heads of provincial organizations, judges,etc,etc.How are you going to beat them, they run the country with their professional planners and liars, woops(lawyers). Until the judicial system can stand up and really punish the people that step outside the limits, not with (oh, don't do that again, or apologize to the people, they will understand that is was not your intention to steal from them, and if you tried to do that this would be their response (DO NOT DO WHAT WE DO, DO WHAT WE TELL YOU TO DO).We got to be the most ignorant people on this earth, we elect prime ministers that do not want to pay taxes to canada, they register their companies in foreign countries prime ministers that create jobs for thousands of lawyers, and the list goes on. Have a good day.Quebec is having an awful difficult time with their HYDRO CO, all these so called heads of management, handing in their resignation, the air does not smell to good. Once again HAVE A GOOD DAY,

It is pretty sad to think about how bad this industry has been used by our province. We went from having a world renowned stakes program, to a program now that even if you won every OSS you'd be lucky to make 300,000. The grassroots... Well what a joke, you can race for twice as much in the nw classes at woodbine or Mohawk. Great Canadian gaming doesn't want horse racing at there facilities, so you take the slots away from flamboro you could almost bet that Georgian downs would not be far behind closing there doors as well. Why do we even pay people to sit on committees and boards for us, instead of paying them we could have an extra 600,000 to race for a year..if not probably more. I would say racing is over in ontario. It's a shame. Thanks Whynn you really helped us out! We became a scape goat for you, just like hydro one will. Short term you will be able to balance your books so it looks pretty to those not involved.

Whats the difference if the slots leave? Slots have nothing to do with harness racing anymore in Ontario so why is this even news? Take the slots and throw them in the barns that sit empty in the Flamboro backstretch so they can collect cobwebs.

Is this the reincarnation of the Paul Godfrey/ Tannenbaum consortium that was going to take over the bingo business in Ontario at the demise of SARP ?? Wherever money is involved,, watchdogs should be actively employed. It's too bad the watchdogs in Ontario are so easily appeased by a cheap bone.

If horsepeople choose to ignore decisions like this one, it would be a big mistake. The "integration" of horse racing into the OLG sounds like a horrible idea to me. I still can't understand why anybody who cares about the province of Ontario would elect a Liberal government.

And these guys (the OLG) are supposed to be "integrating with the horse racing industry"
.... What a joke !

Have something to say about this? Log in or create an account to post a comment.