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CPMA Nixed 'Million Dollar' Idea


Published: June 8, 2010 8:37 am ET

Last Comment: June 13, 2010 8:04 pm ET | 14 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

The Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency (CPMA) is a roadblock preventing the harness racing industry from developing the new and innovative betting products it needs to survive. And it's up to the racing industry to do something about it.

That was the message delivered by Ted Smith during a standardbred industry panel discussion at the inaugural Canada's Outdoor Equine Expo in Arkell, Ontario yesterday.

Just a week after retiring from his 34-year tenure at the Canadian Trotting Association, Canadian Standardbred Horse Society and Standardbred Canada, the former President and Chief Executive Officer dumped a truckload of blame for racing's betting woes at the doorstep of the CPMA.

"Right now, the Ontario provincial lotteries, our biggest competitors, can change a game in 30 days and implement. But it takes four years to change pari-mutuel regulations," said Smith.

Smith said Standardbred Canada has a team of young, eager people looking for new and innovative ways for racing to better compete against ever-expanding lotteries and gaming, but the door is being slammed shut by the CPMA, the federal government agency that regulates and supervises pari-mutuel betting on horse racing at racetracks across Canada.

"The last time Standardbred Canada proposed new regulations, we didn't even get a letter back from the CPMA," said Smith. "Not even the courtesy of a phone call."

Smith noted Standardbred Canada is not the only industry stakeholder frustrated with the agency. He told the meeting that the Woodbine Entertainment Group and the Score television network hatched an idea to re-launch its Monday night national TV broadcast as "Million Dollar Mondays" and give horseplayers a chance to win $1 million if they could pick all the winners on the Monday card. "We would have had people from all over North America watching, but the CPMA nixed it in two minutes. They said it's not going to happen."

Smith said it's now up to the horse racing industry to change the CPMA. He believes the slots revenue era has led to industry complacency and that has to change. "There is a sense of self satisfaction from the participants. But if we don't build up betting again, we're going to be in trouble.

"We need to lobby for change. The industry has to be united, have one united position and take it forward," said Smith who feels conflict between horseman and racetracks has to end.

To make change happen, Smith said the industry must set its sights on Ottawa. With a minority government in power, he feels federal politicians will be willing to listen to the industry's concerns.

"We should be registered lobbyists down in Ottawa," said Smith. "The industry really has not pursued the CPMA. It's on our shoulders to do that and move forward."

Smith, for one, says he's up to the task. "I have a bit more time on my hands now and I'm going to work toward that."

(A Trot Insider Exclusive by Bernard Tobin)

June 13, 2010 - 8:04 pmI can only say that I think

Randy Young SAID...

I can only say that I think your dead wrong John.
No doubt the race tracks can help by lowering their take-out and providing more and better information that allows the betting public a fair chance at getting a return on their investment.
The antequated rules and regulations initiated by the CPMA and the ORC have, however, had a huge effect on who goes to the race tracks as well as who bets at their local Champions bar or bets on line.
Northern Ontario is a perfect example. Those who would like to bet on line cannot because the absurd rules prevent us from acquiring a wagering account. Over the last 15 years or so, telewagering in Northern Ontario has been shut down for several months at a time because of the inability of Sudbury Downs Management to negotiate a contract with their horsemen - no betting available due to the "Home Market" regulations.
As far as conditioned races go, everyone can read the conditions and decide whether they want to bet.

June 10, 2010 - 2:20 pmI disagree with all the

I disagree with all the comments made above. First of all the CPMA has nothing to do with who goes to the race tracks, most people including myself have enough trouble on picking one horse never mind trying to bet the picks 3,4,6 &7 or combining two race tracks for a big jackpot like in the US tracks. The US tracks are no further ahead than Our tracks.

It all comes down to treating the race fans that pay the bills "Right". All the race tracks cater to the owners,trainers and drivers. They have conditions in races to suit certain horses. For example have a look at Mohawk May 29 when the very powerful Sportswriter, "read the conditions" and then they add "AE 3 year olds" How are You suppose to bet a race like that, best of all He gets beat by a $40 to $50,000 claimer. The public paid for His first start back. Then You have conditions where a horse comes from another track with 2 races won and $14,995 "for example" and is allowed to race of "nonwinners of one or $15,000 lifetime. Then You have horses that are in "Retention" one week and the next week there is no retention this week for the same horse "Why ???" If You feel that certain horses by certain trainers are not following the rules, then please get rid of them. The racing public wants honest racing for their money.

Spend a little more money on "testing" not retention as they are doing in the US. You owe it to the Race Fan. Mr Smith should have done what He is saying while He was in power, not now. Treat the people right and they will make up their minds---Sports betting, Gulfing, Slots, Bingo. Do not blame anyone else for Your mistakes Race tracks of Canada, The public pays The bills, not the CMPA.

June 10, 2010 - 2:16 amIf Ted Smith thinks

If Ted Smith thinks lotteries are the biggest competition for harness racing, wait till single bet sports wagering arrives, then he will see who is the real competition and why!!

June 9, 2010 - 8:15 pmApplause to all who have

brad remsik SAID...

Applause to all who have taken the time to voice their opinions.Well said.When you speak of contacting your members of parliament why not do what every other industry in dire straits does? H ave a protest on parliament hill with your horses and sulkies and trailers,etc. It worked for the farmers,the teachers and the auto industry so why not the horse industry? I am sure their are enough people around the Ottawa area that could take a day and organize a massive display of the hardship that was caused in the province of Quebec.Do they want the same in all provinces? I feel with the right people organizing this major event things might start to get noticed and who knows, maybe even some changes made. As it was already stated "THE SQEAKY WHEEL GETS THE GREASE!"

June 9, 2010 - 3:51 pmI hadn't realized that

Randy Young SAID...

I hadn't realized that anyone other then Northern Ontario had no access to account wagering - I know how you feel.
Your right - they should have cards that are usable throughout the province.
They should also have a standard Tote system. A year or so ago, I had winning tickets from Western Fair and Grand River (from wagers placed while visiting my sons) but couldn't cash them at our Champions location here in the Sault.

June 9, 2010 - 5:27 amtop dog at Canada Ag...CPMA

jim cauchon SAID...

top dog at Canada Ag...CPMA one of many under his ultimate decrees
Minister Gerry Ritz

Constituency Office
1322-100th Street
const. office:
North Battleford, SK
S9A 0V8
Tel: 306-445-2004
Fax: 306-445-0207

Ottawa Office
781 Confederation Bldg.
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0A6
Tel: 613-995-7080
Fax: 613-996-8472

**this guy might just not be ready to get dirty...saskatchewan, not exactly a harness racing priority, though many there game to try.
..and why mess with his all friends both fed and provincially with all their lottery fun and lavish pleasure.

nonetheless, some bio info..
He was named Secretary of State for Small Business and Tourism in January 2007 and was appointed Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board in August 2007. He also serves as the Regional Minister for Saskatchewan.

Minister Ritz knows agriculture and the province of Saskatchewan as he has ran his own farming operation, owned and operated a general contracting business, and co-owned a weekly newspaper. Minister Ritz also has a long history of community involvement including work with economic development organizations and coaching.

June 8, 2010 - 7:45 pmKawartha district is not

Paul Goff SAID...

Kawartha district is not allowed hpi cards either. Why can't we have a universal card that i can use at any track in Ontario. Every summer I travel around following the grassroots series. In Dresden last weekend probably be in Flamboro in couple weeks. Would be nice if i could load my tims card along with my hpi card ( if i could get one) and go.

June 8, 2010 - 6:45 pmTed and I have had our

Norman Hall SAID...

Ted and I have had our differences in the past but on this one I give him my total support. The CPMA is totally out of sync with the world of racing and betting. Get them out of here. They are just so many fat cat beaurocrats involved in this business that get their pay regardless of how the business survives. Get rid of them now. We don't need them, we don't want them. They are the single biggest roadblock to the survival of racing in Canada. Don't they realize that when racing dies so do their jobs ?

June 8, 2010 - 2:53 pmYou can buy a lottery ticket

You can buy a lottery ticket at almost any convenience store in Canada, but try to bet on a horse race. CPMA continues to drag its heels and take horses racing down with it. Even the CRTC seems to be moving ahead quicker than CPMA. Trying to run an industry with regulations that were drafted 40 years ago doesnt make much sense.

June 8, 2010 - 12:19 pmI have never seen such a

brian hancox SAID...

I have never seen such a mess in the CPMA in my life. Yonkers Raceway and the Big M put together a combined pick six wager that was implimented this past weekend. The approval for that wager would have taken years in Canada.

Hopefully, every Race Track in Ontario large or small as well as the rest of Canada has by now emailed a copy of Mr. Smith's speech to their respective MP's as well as the offices of the Minister of Agriculture and Prime Minister.

I would like to mention that all people working on new wagering ideas talk to the Tote Companies first. Parimutuel changes mean software has to be updated and tote companies with contracts at smaller rece tracks do not like this idea at all.

Earnie Larson says in his book Co-Dependent No More, "If nothing changes, nothing changes." His words say it all don't they?

June 8, 2010 - 12:05 pmEven New York and New Jersey

Don Patrick SAID...

Even New York and New Jersey were able to create the "Metro 6" wager this past weekend, a bet that involved 2 tracks in different States. That type of innovation is needed everywhere.

June 8, 2010 - 11:50 amWith all due respect to

With all due respect to former President Ted Smith I cannot help but echo the sentiments generally attributed to Mark Twain when he said: "Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it."
With a federal election just around the corner it is long past time for executives of various horseracing groups to get up from their comfortable pews and lead their membership in bombarding elected M.Ps.with email and all other forms of correspondence. This action should be started now, not months or years down the road when the plight of horseracing is beyond help. "The wheel that squeaks gets the grease."

June 8, 2010 - 11:32 amCan someone give us names

Can someone give us names and address of these people that are roadblocking this? If we have them we can at least write to our MP's and Federal Ministers to ask for change!

June 8, 2010 - 10:57 amI couldn't agree more ! The

Randy Young SAID...

I couldn't agree more ! The CPMA have been developing their Framework Review proposals since 2006. They include several changes that are long overdue but are bogged down in government red tape. They are still no where near getting implemented.
In the meantime horse racing fans in Northern Ontario have to live with the "Home Market Regulations" and deal with Sudbury Downs who have yet to provide account wagering, 20 cent bets etc, etc.
Speaking of the Score's new Bet Night contest - Northern Ontario is ineligible because we are "NOT ALLOWED to obtain an HPI account" - how totally ridiculous !!

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