Ontario sets up panel to work with horse racing industry
Ontario is moving forward with consultations to help the horse racing industry transition from the Slots at Racetracks program to a more sustainable, self-sufficient model.
The consultations will be led by a panel of three former cabinet ministers — Elmer Buchanan, John Snobelen and John Wilkinson.
The panel will:
• Work with the industry to help develop a vision for the future.
• Provide recommendations to the government on how to allocate transition funding.
• Advise on the modernization of other industry revenue sources to assist the industry in becoming more self-sufficient.
“It is important for the horse racing industry to develop a new vision for its future,” stated Ted McMeekin Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “I look forward to hearing the panel’s recommendations on how we can provide transitional support for the industry.”
“Our government understands that ending the Slots at Racetracks program and responding to market demands poses a challenge for everyone involved in the horse racing industry,” states Dwight Duncan, Minister of Finance. “That’s why we are committed to helping the industry move toward greater self-sufficiency without government support.”
A final report from the panel is expected in late summer 2012.
• Ontario will provide up to $50 million over three years in transition support to the industry.
• Employment Ontario will help displaced workers in the industry find jobs and training.
• Since 1998, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) has provided nearly $3.7 billion to horse racing in Ontario through the Slots at Racetracks program.
• The industry is expected to receive a payment of $340 million from the OLG this year.
• The Slots at Racetracks Program gives 20 per cent of gross slot revenue. That money is shared equally between the track operator and those involved with running horses at the respective tracks. The program will end on March 31, 2013.