More Municipal Support For Racing

Published: April 9, 2012 10:24 am EDT

Add the Mayor of Belleville, Neil Ellis to the long list of municipal leaders and horse racing industry participants irate and speaking out against the OLG modernization strategy


In a letter sent to Premier Dalton McGuinty last week, Ellis urged the province's Liberal government to reconsider its plan to drop the slots-at-racetracks program as of March 31, 2013.

The letter appears in its entirety below.

April 3, 2012

Dalton McGuinty, Premier
Legislative Building
Queen’s Park
M7A 1A1

Premier McGuinty:

As Mayor of the City of Belleville I provide this letter of support as it pertains to the Slots at Racetracks issues and the domino effect this will have as a whole on the entire Horse Racing Industry, in all of Ontario and especially in the City of Belleville, where many horsemen have been waiting for years for the final approvals of our racetrack.

The horsemen and women of Belleville are citizens that contribute large amounts of money within the agricultural sector of our economy. Belleville is an area rich with agriculture from horse farms, cattle farms, cash crops, feed mills, tack shops and so on. In these dire times with the impending closure of three racetracks in Western Ontario, and possibly more, this will have a devastating effect on the second largest agricultural economic engine within the Province.

Horse racing employs approximately 60,000 people within this industry and there are approximately 30,000 racehorses alone in the Province of Ontario. This industry has generated approximately $15 billion dollars to the Government of Ontario since the partnership with the Slots at Racetracks Program. The revenue is not a subsidy, it is the fair share of revenue dollars allocated to the Horse Industry as a direct result of government slots impacting the horse racing customer base. They contribute $261 million in tax revenue for the government. Due to the issues surrounding Racinos, thousands of people will be out of jobs, thousands of horses will end up slaughtered as there will be no use for them and thousands of horse people will end up on social assistance. Horse people are very hard working agricultural people who love their horses and the sport of racing. In turn, everything they make is reinvested locally into their farms, breeding and livestock.

Respectfully, I am requesting your assistance and support in this most important matter realizing the impact on our city and our province. As a city that has been “grandfathered” into receiving a Racino, I am also asking that you support the other Mayors of the effected municipalities.

Neil R. Ellis



Right on Pierre. Their is an Ontario Mayors Group or Committee ... at least THEY should come to agreement to write a letter stating the position of Mayors on this issue. Is there anyone anywhere who hasn't visited someone somewhere in Ontario's countryside??

Every mayor in Ontario should be writing a letter like this since Agriculture is a huge part of Ontario. When I had my horse at Quinte raceway it was a great place to race and it would thrive having a racino there. For the government to go back on its word for the racino is pretty pathetic. The NDP has to go against this budget and force the liberals out otherwise I think Ontario is in big trouble.

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