Transitional Panel Now Quite Optimistic

Published: September 21, 2012 04:35 pm EDT

Ontario Horse Racing Industry Transition Panel Member Elmer Buchanan has been quoted as saying that the panel is now more optimistic for the future of the Ontario horse-racing industry.

Buchanan's veiled comments have appeared in a report by The Belleville Intelligencer.

The former Cabinet Minister was quoted as saying that the panel is “very optimistic” for the future of the provincial industry, and that the Ontario industry is "going to be at a size that’s significant and is going to be able to survive in Ontario."

Buchanan is currently in Guelph, where he and the rest of the panel has been taking part in meetings all week.

He was quoted as saying that “the government has encouraged us (the panel) to continue to dialogue with the industry --- both the horsemen and the tracks --- to see if they are willing to work toward a solution.”

Although Buchanan's words offer an intriguing ray of hope for Ontario horse racing, he stated that, going forward, the industry has to be held more accountable for increasing wagering in order to help itself out.

“We think the industry needs to increase wagering in order to be able to support itself,” Buchanan said. “That’s a natural source of income.”

(With files from The Belleville Intelligencer)



True, how has the game thrived? The owners, trainers and breeders have thrived from the agreement. The pools at all of the B tracks rarely exceed the purse totals. What kind of business model is that? Reality is that the larger operations will survive, the smaller track will not. Purses on the WEG circuit will be a third of what they are now. Trainers will have to reduce their fees, owners will spend less for yearlings, and breeders will see reduced returns.

Do people realize that the wagering has not really decreased that much?

What needs to be done, is hire non-racing people, but people in charge or promotions at reputable places to lure people in. It is clear that having horse racing people trying to lure in the casual fan, has not worked since the early 80's when fans used to come out.

Look now, I live in Ottawa... there is NO REASON for a casual person to go to the track. The races there, would look like any other to the casual fan. There is no connection between the great drivers there like Allard and MacDonald, and the city of Ottawa. Other than company nights at the track, or buffet, there is nothing that attaches RCR with the city. No television show, no newspaper coverage, nothing. The only ads for RCR is a huge ad, where 80% of it, is for the seafood buffet.


if you people want wagering to increase, you need to show the average fan, what is going on. My GF was sent to the track with her girls as an experiment. Not only did not one show them how to read a program, the betting menu was not explained. Basically, horse people have said, "here is our product, now bet".

While everyone is complaining to the government about this and that..... lets fix what we have. The next generation of racing fans might be there, but there is no one to lure them in. AT ANY TRACK.

In reply to by Will Yamakva

Agree with you 100% Will. This industry needs to invest in it's customers and market the sport. 48,000 in attendance last Thursday at DELEWARE and you have to pay admission.
The USTA sponsor every year a "BACK AT THE TRACK WEEK" where they give everybody free program, hot dog drink package.... and it's working wonders to bring people back.
You would be surprised how many people show up when you put FREE in front of it, either a T-shirt bobble head whatever.
Without a doubt this industry has done a poor job marketing it and it needs to be given out to professionnals.

A well thought out and accurate synopsis by Mr. Greg Perry, congrats::!

The ridiculous political march continues. Horse Racing not only survived - it THRIVED - after entering into a 'Partnership' with the Progressive Conservative Provincial Government that resulted in the Slots at Racetracks Program. The major understanding - a crucial and central issue ... was that on-site Slots would REDUCE the wagering on Horse Racing. It was well understood by all parties prior to the 'marriage' being undertaken.

And the Provincial Government?? They (Ontarians) did EVEN BETTER than the Horse Industry. The OLGC grew to become a HUGE employer, with over 300 of its (Ontario) employees earning over $100,000 per year. And STILL, the SAR Program provided $185,000,000 to municipal 'Partners' ... AND SAR provided $1,300,000,000 ($1.3B) to the Liberals - to be used as they saw fit.

The Government DID NOT SUBSIDIZE Horse Racing. We GAVE UP our wagering base in exchange for Slots - on an 80/20 split AGREEMENT. We must NOT allow them to misuse us in this way. We don't need 'subsidies'. We have had a mutually beneficial PARTNERSHIP. Nothing less will do.

In reply to by Rootin_T

Wait... from a fan's perspective, how has this game "thrived?"
The racing has gotten worse, the turnouts are lower than ever for racing.

"We GAVE UP our wagering base in exchange for Slots - on an 80/20 split AGREEMENT."

The pools for tracks like WFR and Sar are roughly the same as they are now. The purses have gone up.

Please, for the sake of the racing saving going on here, let's be real when we talk about this. I love horse racing with my heart, but let's try looking at this from a racing fan's perspective.

we need our customers back that we lost to the slots to achieve that!!!!!

Mr. Buchanan is right,we need to increase wagering on horse racing.Unfortunatly the OLG has taken our customers over the last 13 years from us and now wants to end our partnership.It seems to me that whatever transitional funding comes to our industry we must get out from under the OLG's control.We are partners with our biggest foe.The live wagering at our tracks, on our horses has been stolen by our supposed saviors.Whatever happens with this we should be fighting to keep any new casinos far away from our tracks unless we are reaping the profits in a real partnership.It seems Ed James may have been correct on OLG & our elected officials already being in bed with the US Casinos,(MGM).Back when lotteries came into being, parimutals took a hit.When offshore wagering came around,parimutuals took a hit. When slot machines came to the racetracks we felt we were saved. Now we have to smarten up and try to take control of our own destiny. The OLG is planning to expand gaming in Ontario without us, how many gambling dollars does the panel think are really available? It appears the slots were really a TROJAN HORSE sent to destroy us.

Closed slots .... tracks closing ... purses will fall..... BUT WAGERING HAS TO INCREASE boy have we got a handle on the situation how does that help the Breeder Owner Driver Trainer. or should I say the INDUSTRY now if they had come last year with the premise to work together I could understand all this. The stable door is wide open some horses have bolted the rest are being used as pawns by a govt who doesnt care every dog has its day as they say ......

Increasing Wagering is easier if there is no Mega Casino to compete with.
Maybe these guys don't get it. Maybe they think like they're still in government. People can't just increase their betting budget to support Casinos and Racing and Bingo and Lotteries. Honestly common sense has to kick in sooner or later (doesnt it?)

I am sure that we would all like to hear Buchanan's plan for increasing wagering. I would support a new tax law that let's me write-off my gambling losses against income. How's that for an idea?

How about the OLG withholds 20% tax on lottery winnings to offset writing-off gambling losses? If you won a million on a lottery would you complain about 800 thousand. The winner is only one person in 2.5 million so it doesnt affect the remaining hoardes that lose.

Actually I may have stumbled onto something here.

Georg Leber-ICR Racing

of course the panel is going to say they are "optimistic"

I am sure they are not going to tell the truth " horse racing is in for a rough ride" not my words........they would not print them.

They have been hired by the same guys who pulled the plug!!!!!

Nobody wants casinos in the downtown areas.......these guys just dont want to listen

Well Elmer & co "good luck with that " sales pitch

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