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Milton: Taxes Could Increase 25% Without Gaming Revenue

Published: July 5, 2012 2:27 pm ET

Last Comment: July 5, 2012 10:25 pm ET | 3 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Linda Leeds, treasurer for the Town of Milton, which is home to Mohawk Racetrack, has gone on the record as saying that taxes in Canada's fastest-growing community could skyrocket 25 per cent if the municipality does not retain a gambling facility under the Ontario Liberal/Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. gaming modernization plan.

OLG Slots at Mohawk currently provides Milton with in between $5.5 and $6-million in annual tax dollars via the existing revenue distribution framework, according to a report by the Canadian Champion.

Leeds stated during a Town Council meeting last week that Milton could be at financial risk if those tax revenues are not retained. According to a the Canadian Champion report by Julie Slack, Council has given the Town the green light to be a 'willing host community' under the Liberal/OLG gaming modernization plan.

The modernization plan has been under intense scrutiny from the Ontario horse-racing industry, as it would decimate the racing industry, lead to 60,000 job losses and see billions of economic impact pulled out of the province --- and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

“This (revenue from slots at Mohawk) has been used as a key funding source in the capital budget and the community fund,” Leeds was quoted as saying.

The report also mentioned that if some sort of gaming agreement is not ultimately reached between the OLG and the Woodbine Entertainment Group --- the operator of Mohawk Racetrack --- that town has stated that "suitable venues are or can be made readily available” to house whatever the OLG's desires end up being.

Although the town did oblige to be a 'willing host community' for the controversial Liberal/OLG vision on future gaming, at least one councillor, Colin Best, took the opportunity to comment on the province's head-scratching decision to destroy the slots-at-racetracks agreement, which has proved to be Ontario's most successful and lucrative agreement to date.

The Canadian Champion article also reminded many who may have forgotten that Woodbine Racetrack, Mohawk Racetrack and Ajax Downs --- all horse-racing facilities --- are the top three revenue-generating facilities of the OLG's 24 locations.

The Canadian Champion report also contains a paragraph based on OLG numbers that clearly indicates the slots-at-racetracks program is its most successful and lucrative offering (the paragraph appears below).

In 2011, Slots at Racetracks generated $1.5-billion in revenues, according to the OLG. Five OLG casinos in the province generated $300 million over the same period. There are also four private-sector resort casinos in the province that offer slots, table games, hotels and entertainment. Together, they brought in $1.2 billion.

(With files from the Canadian Champion)

July 5, 2012 - 10:25 pmForget the MPPs, it would be

Forget the MPPs, it would be much better if each of the municipalities that hosted the racetracks brought these stories, (one each day), to the news media... let the MPPs learn about it this way, at the same time that the people of Ontario find out... I think a 25% municipal tax increase might even convince Toronto to vote for any party but liberal!!!
This should get the attention of everyone in Ontario, the MPPs will hear about it from them. in greater numbers than we alone can achieve.

July 5, 2012 - 5:27 pmIt would be nice if all the

Chuck Ibey SAID...

It would be nice if all the people in these communities that house tracks/slots sent a message to MPPs not just people employed in this industry.

July 5, 2012 - 3:33 pmWhere have these people been

Where have these people been for the last year? Municipalities should at least take an interest when major funding suddenly disappears. We all have a job to do in the cancellation of the slots at the race track debacle.


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