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Positive Step For Integration

Published: June 10, 2015 12:47 pm ET

Last Comment: June 10, 2015 2:31 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

On June 1, John Snobelen penned an open letter to Minister John Leal and Minister Charles Sousa that explains the Horse Racing Interim Governance Committee’s mandate in regard to the integration of the provincial horse racing industry into the current gaming modernization that is taking place in Ontario.

The contents of Snobelen’s letter appear below.


June 1, 2015

The Honourable Jeff Leal
Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

The Honourable Charles Sousa
Minister of Finance

Dear Ministers:

Thank you for your recent announcement of an Interim Governance Committee to assist in the integration of horse racing and gaming. At your request, I am pleased to serve as the independent chair of the committee.

As you know, Premier Wynne announced the government’s intention to integrate horse racing into gaming in October 2013. Integration will benefit both the industry and the provincial gaming strategy.

Earlier this year, both of you and Minister Meilleur led a meeting with the Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association (OHRIA) to discuss initiatives that will forward integration.

These initiatives include transferring the regulation of horse racing to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), expanding the mandate of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) to include horse racing and improving industry governance in partnership with the Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association (OHRIA).

These structural changes will require approval by the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. In advance of consideration by the Legislature, several integration imperatives require input from the industry. These include:

  • Developing options for improving industry self-governance;

  • Building industry capacity to effectively partner with OLG;

  • Exploring opportunities for increasing pari-mutuel wagering;

  • Establishing measures to ensure accountable use of taxpayers dollars;

  • Providing advice on non-regulatory transition to OLG; and

  • Considering other issues related to integration.

The Horse Racing Interim Governance Committee will consult broadly on these issues with representatives of the horse racing and gaming industries: OHRIA, OLG, ORC and AGCO.

OMAFRA has researched the governance and regulation of horse racing in other jurisdictions and the committee will benefit from this effort.

The committee includes Sue Leslie, representing the Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association, and Michael Keegan, representing the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.

In charging this committee, you specifically referenced the need to be mindful of the impact of horse racing on the economy of rural Ontario. With this in mind, I am pleased to report that the committee will benefit from the assistance of Mr. Greg Walling, who brings a wealth of experience in the economics of our smaller track venues.

The committee understands the urgency in addressing these issues in cooperation with OLG, AGCO and ORC. We will begin our work immediately.

I will update you on a regular basis and will provide specific recommendations as soon as we are able to make them.

Thank you for your continued support of and advocacy for the Ontario horse racing industry. Your commitment to a successful and sustainable future for horse racing is encouraging to the thousands of people who proudly earn their living working to continue the great traditions of horse racing in Ontario.

Sincerely,
John Snobelen

CC:

• The Honourable Madeleine Meilleur, Attorney General
• Stephen Rigby, President and CEO, Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation
• Jean Major, CEO, Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario
• Steve Lehman, Executive Director, Ontario Racing Commission
• Scott Thompson, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Finance
• Deb Stark, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs


June 10, 2015 - 2:31 pm"The committee understands

Randy Young SAID...

"The committee understands the urgency in addressing these issues in cooperation with OLG, AGCO and ORC. We will begin our work immediately."

Wow, our Ontario Government in action ... it only took from October 2013 until June 2015 for work to "begin".


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