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Flamboro Adds Age Restriction

Published: August 21, 2019 9:27 am ET

Last Comment: August 27, 2019 12:42 pm ET | 26 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Live harness racing returns to Flamboro Downs in two weeks time, and while operator Great Canadian Gaming has made enhancements to the facility they have also announced an age restriction effective next month.

"We have made a significant investment in our gaming and entertainment facilities, and we are eager to share them with our guests," the track said in a statement. "These enhancements include the addition of new gaming and entertainment amenities and the addition of approximately 100 new jobs.

"In order to accommodate these new enhancements, Flamboro Downs will become a 19+ entertainment destination on Tuesday, September 3, 2019. All ages are still welcome to enjoy live racing on the tarmac and will have access to washroom facilities."

Flamboro races four days per week for the remainder of 2019, with a Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday schedule in September. That Tuesday shifts to Wednesday night in October, continuing with Thursday, Saturday and Sunday cards through December.

August 27, 2019 - 12:42 pmThis is a sad sad day! In a

Tony Miceli SAID...

This is a sad sad day! In a day in age when we as parents find it hard to get our kids outdoors to play or away from there phones or ipads. I remember when I was 6 years old going to the track with my dad to see the horses. Then as a teenager my dad became a horse owner and the many days driving all over Ontario to watch our horses race was a family event I remember with fond memories. Now with a young family 2 girls 4 and 6 I have followed in the family passion with horse ownership and my two girls always asking when is our horse racing next and planning for the day.

August 26, 2019 - 9:41 pmThis is something that I

This is something that I thought was abolished back in the 1970s. Unacceptable! The kids are our future. I mean really, smarten up guys.

August 25, 2019 - 8:47 pmThis is a very unfortunate

John McKean SAID...

This is a very unfortunate stand taken by this racetrack and more unfortunate is the reaction of avoiding entering horses to race there. This could very well play directly into the hands of Great Canadian Gaming and can be used to illustrate to the government that horse racing is not important to the economic fabric of Ontario. The use of social media appealing to the emotional aspect of families being denied bring their children to comfortable facilities to watch the horses (because that is what this basically amounts to) could be more effective than boycotting the entry box - think of children being outside in the rain or winter weather.
I remember being taken to the races by my parents; I took my children to the races and hope to take my grandchildren to the races. It is a great way for younger generations to appreciate the sport and become involved in it at an early age. Look at all sports - baseball, football, soccer, basketball; all of these venues are filled with children, why would we think we should be any different in developing our fan base?
Reversing this decision will take a concerted effort - contact your local MPP to make your concerns known.

August 23, 2019 - 9:42 pmAfter all the years that our

Robert Coole SAID...

After all the years that our industry has put in by developing young racing fans that have been through all the promotions for kids, from pony rides, youth camps, paddock tours, Wanna ride, and events such as Racing Under Saddle to promote racing to a new generation, where would such an idea come from? We have been developing a new fan base and now the Gaming companies are hanging racing out to dry. The horsemen's group, who are supposed to represent horsepeople are silent. Since the Liberals cancelled the Slots AGREEMENT and gave subsidies, to keep us quiet, our industry is continually under attack from within by those who are looking out for their own interest. At the present rate, our industry will be as Florida within five years.

August 23, 2019 - 11:24 amKids don't gamble. And

Mark Wallace SAID...

Kids don't gamble.

And Harness racing does NOT need the slots.

The Internet allows us to enjoy our tracks from the comfort of our own homes with our own refreshments, no travel, no parking, no weather - thanks HPI!

All of the Great Canadian Racing tracks have a slot mentality and believe they are the draw to the track. The opposite is was true but now with the internet we do not need the slots. Abandon them and strengthen the internet - the Pool Handle is the key to Harness Racing.

Flamboro (my local track) has gone downhill for years. Let's all rally around Western Fair on the Internet this Fall.

Prove the Internet can provide the handle for successful grassroots harness racing in Canada!

August 23, 2019 - 10:10 amClearly there is enough blame

chris bush SAID...

Clearly there is enough blame to go around. Too much consolidation of power is never a good idea. Not having proper/effective horsemen representation is extremely problematic. Horse peoples apathy bares a great deal of responsibility. Surprise, casinos could care less. Governments are notoriously ineffective. And finally not having competent people and organizational structures has been this industries problem forever. Who's hopeful? You don't nurture new customers at age 19.

August 23, 2019 - 9:26 amVery good decision. Horse

Very good decision. Horse racing always complain about every decision.

But this one follows in their decision not to have racing in the week-end afternoon so the family can attend. They decided to have all racing done from 7:30 to midnight, who would bring their kids in the winter time when there is school and when it is so late... kids should not be there.

If the racing industry wants to make their game family oriented, than change the week-end schedule to afternoon, open the paddocks and and make it fun for the whole family. Start with your own decision before criticising others for the same decision your people made.

August 23, 2019 - 12:49 amThe only thing worse than

Randy Copley SAID...

The only thing worse than this announcement are the people commenting in favour of it.

August 22, 2019 - 10:46 pmWhile I agree this decision

L. C. SAID...

While I agree this decision is probably more a function of gaming laws as they relate to children being on the gaming floor, I strongly disagree with the idea that slots have been good for harness racing. The subsidy to purses brought on by slots has and continues to slowly kill the sport. The slots subsidies have made the customer unimportant. The racinos view racing as a necessary evil in order to keep their profitable gaming licence. Most of the purse money comes from the slots subsidies not the customer. As a result decisions are made which are in the best interest of the track and the horsemen without regard to the customer. The end result is the customers have disappeared in larger and large numbers.

The day could come when governments see other uses for the slots subsidies. When that happens the horsemen will be looking to the customers for purse money only to find the customers are gone.

August 22, 2019 - 8:12 pmYesterday I sent emails with

Yesterday I sent emails with the attached article to our Premier, to Donna Skelly, my local MPP and the ACGO to try to get an answer as to why this happened. My own local MPP is already looking into it based on an email that I received from him today, and I live in an urban riding where frankly it does not matter. Please, anyone in the “Flamboro” riding reach out to Ms Skelly as the automatic response that you receive from her indicates the she will respond to her constituents first. I do not live in the riding.

August 22, 2019 - 7:32 pmLooks like Mr Gillis is the

Will Yamakva SAID...

Looks like Mr Gillis is the only one that gets it. Reality is that the attention span of kids isn't the same as what it was. Targeting them isn't going to pay off. Getting them when they have a bit of income, in their early 20s, and making an atmosphere for them, is the goal here.

Not a bad move, and I am curious to see how this pays off. Having 20-somethings at the track increases handle now, whereas little kids might be into watching, but no assurances they follow through in their early 20s.

Bold move. Thinking outside the box. I like it. Hope it pays off.

August 22, 2019 - 5:36 pmPretty difficult to have a

ron francis SAID...

Pretty difficult to have a successful business, when the people who own it/run it want it to disappear.

August 22, 2019 - 5:25 pmThey did the same thing here

They did the same thing here at Fraser Downs in Cloverdale, BC. So bad for Family Day at the track.

August 22, 2019 - 5:24 pmDid you read this part of the

L. C. SAID...

Did you read this part of the statement "All ages are still welcome to enjoy live racing on the tarmac and will have access to washroom facilities."?

That is how it is at most tracks where there are casinos. Most places forbid children from being on the gaming floor but can be in the areas where there are not any slots or table games.

August 22, 2019 - 3:59 pmOntario Racing does nothing

Sheldon Rose SAID...

Ontario Racing does nothing to reward tracks that attract the live crowd, such as recommending that they move from Grassroots to Signature tracks. GCG does nothing to attract new patrons yet they still maintain their status.

August 22, 2019 - 1:48 pmEveryone is always quick to

Everyone is always quick to point out the negatives and jump on business decisions. Funny when they spent millions upgrading and keeping the track alive in the first place no one is now remembering that.

The alcohol and gaming laws force this decision, and speaking of needing youth to step up to take the place of the dying of population of older bettors, it is the casinos that need to do this. And (oops it may hurt to hear this) no children are allowed around, just like the all inclusive resorts that are adults only. Getting the 19-25 year olds exposed to harness racing and hopefully gaining new fans and lifelong patrons of the sport is what we need, and if this is the way to get those patrons then that's what we need.

I am a huge lifelong fan of harness racing and hate the slot machines but if having slot machines is what is required to keep racing going then so be it. We have to deal with the alcohol and gaming legislation.

How many more racetracks need to shut down or go on reduced schedules before the masses start to realize racing needs the help of racinos to stay alive. When are harness racing fans going to realize the casinos bring in revenue 7 days a week for 16-24 hours per day depending on their hours, and racing alone can not provide anything near that.

The children can still watch the races, and see the horses on occasion, and don't need to be near the gambling to enjoy that. They will have their time to be regular fans when older.

Yes, I remember fondly of going to the largest track in the maritimes, Sackville Downs, as a child, and now as an adult I love the idea of being able to take my children there... but wait its now a Walmart and apartment complex as they voted not to have it turn to a racino.
At least I have the second largest track in the maritimes to turn too... oh it's now a shopping mall too and my kids have been there many times.
The third and 4th largest tracks are almost at shutdown as well, but the two that went racinos are providing some of the best competitive and entertaining racing we have ever had here in the maritimes and purses are increasing there and are 5-7 times larger than pre-racino days.

August 22, 2019 - 8:01 amThe thought process behind

bob tutton SAID...

The thought process behind this move by Great Canadian Gaming is not just short sighted, but just plain stupid. As the older fans of horse racing go off to greener pastures, one has to wonder about how we plan to get the next generation interested in horse racing. This move by GCG doesn't help. I remember as a youngster going to the races with my parents and enjoying a fun family day at the track. Not at Flamboro anymore. With people like The Stable.ca trying to get new people interested in the sport, this move by GCG is nothing more than a kick in the pants. I wonder how Anthony feels about this. Now his owners have to leave the children at home if they are racing at Flamboro.
NOT ACCEPTABLE

August 21, 2019 - 11:00 pmI knew that something bad

Peggy Powell SAID...

I knew that something bad was happening in the spring when I saw all the seating being removed from the grandstand. I never expected them to outlaw children at the track. I was taking my children to Flamboro over 40 years ago and now they bring their children to the track to see the races. It seems hard to believe that they want to support horse racing when something like this is allowed to happen. This is cruel and unusual punishment.

August 21, 2019 - 8:38 pmThis announcement

Dave Bryans SAID...

This announcement demonstrates the demise of live attendance and future bettors as they continue to drive families and loyal customers to alternative entertainment. When the new wave of Casinos finally saturates the market then and only then will management look in the mirror. Fortunate for all families (except local racing families) Mohawk is only 20 minutes away, more family friendly and demonstrates appreciation for the racing business.

August 21, 2019 - 8:29 pmWe live in a world where

James Gillis SAID...

We live in a world where Casino games attract the primary gambling dollar. Given the way the article is written, I am hopeful it means that casino games have been placed in view of the races. The casino games will always draw and if the races are visible to some of those who attend will also place wagers on races given the visibility. If this is the case the age restriction would be due to liquor licensing laws which state that where casino games are played and alcohol is served you must be 19 to be admitted. If this is in fact Flamboro’s new model, while a major change in tradition, it will increase the on-track handle over the next meet.

August 21, 2019 - 8:07 pmFirst we let them into our

First we let them into our Racetracks because it was already a gambling facility with the assurance there would be no casinos without Horseracing. They came and put up a partition so the patrons couldn’t see the track.They were ushered in with free gifts, cheap food exc. There was a great bar and dining area for Horsepeople it was no longer open. There is no integration like they said there would be, just constantly putting up a divide. It is a proven fact that exposure to racing at a young age plants the seed for them to be potential owners in the future, how can not allowing children be good for our business? I’m sure they could have designed it so there was still a family friendly area. Were Horsepeople consulted in this process or design?

August 21, 2019 - 7:16 pmDoes that mean that you will

Peggy Powell SAID...

Does that mean that you will have to keep your kids outside all night in the winter? This is not acceptable. We need to attract young people and families to the races. A lot of young families and their children at the races and now they will no longer be allowed indoors in the dead of winter. WOW!

August 21, 2019 - 6:16 pmCan’t believe this! Nice that

Can’t believe this! Nice that families can still use the washrooms. Ministry of the Environment must have said 'NO' to the port-a-potties.

August 21, 2019 - 5:19 pmIt will be lovely to stand on

It will be lovely to stand on the tarmac and watch in the rain or the sub-zero temps at night in the winter. Another way to promote interest in horse racing at a young age! Is there anything that we can do about this? Is it a done deal? There has to be some inside area that they can set aside for families.

August 21, 2019 - 1:46 pmOne question - who let this

One question - who let this happen?

August 21, 2019 - 12:47 pmSo pay for parking is next?

Tim Bates SAID...

So pay for parking is next?

Seems when there were more restrictions (1980's and back) there was more interest. Not thinking you will break people of the internet addiction, but have to try something.


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