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Backgrounder – Ontario's Government Supporting A Strong And Sustainable Horse Racing Industry

Published: March 21, 2019 10:55 am ET

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March 21, 2019

Ontario's Government continues to put people first and is investing in rural communities by ensuring a strong and sustainable horse racing industry. Recognizing that horse racing is part of Ontario's heritage and is vital to rural communities, Ontario's long-term funding commitment includes a new Horse Improvement Program as well as an Optional Slots at Racetracks Program.

The Long-Term Funding Agreement

Ontario's Government continues to put people first and is supporting the horse racing industry through the long-term funding agreement. The agreement includes up to $105 million in funding per year, for up to 19 years, for racetrack operations and purse support.

The signatories of the long-term funding agreement include the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), Ontario Racing, Woodbine Entertainment Group and Ontario Racing Management Inc.

The agreement will provide the horse racing industry with a solid foundation of financial support spanning nearly two decades. Over time, government support will decrease allowing the industry to build on a sustainable model of self-management.

Financial support under the agreement will come into effect on April 1, 2019, ensuring greater accountability and transparency, and industry self-management.

The Horse Improvement Program

In addition, OLG will provide $10 million per year for the Horse Improvement Program (HIP), which supports breeding and industry development programs for Ontario-bred horses.

This funding will replace the Enhanced Horse Improvement Program from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

HIP will be administered by Ontario Racing.

Optional Slots at Racetracks Program

In addition to the long-term funding agreement, the government is providing support through the Optional Slots at Racetracks Program (OSARP) which includes:

  • Support for racetracks that lost or were going to lose slot facilities. The government worked with its partners to reach agreements that include additional operational funding or slots for eligible racetracks.

    • Kawartha Downs, Ajax Downs, and Hiawatha Horse Park elected to keep slots facilities.

    • Fort Erie Race Track and Dresden Raceway elected to receive additional financial support for horse racing operations.

This funding is designed to directly support the province's horse racing industry and rural communities.

Ontario's plan protects the long-term sustainability of the horse racing industry and the rural businesses, jobs and communities that depend on it.

(Province of Ontario)

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