Horse Racing News Summary

Four press releases on January 23 announced changes to the horse racing industry in Ontario.
 
The OLG announced that it has reached agreements in principle with eight tracks, referred to as “gaming sites”, including Woodbine, Mohawk, Rideau Carleton, Hanover, Woodstock, Dresden, Sudbury Downs and Clinton raceways. Agreements in principle had already been reached with Western Fair Raceway and Kawartha Downs last December. 
 
The OLG projects that these agreements will be finalized by the end of February 2013. The press release further states, “OLG continues to engage in lease agreement discussions with its other site holders across the province and remains hopeful that a positive outcome to those discussions is near for all facilities.”
 
A second press release from OMAFRA announced that the Liberal government had reached, “an agreement in principle to provide transition funding to the province's largest provider of horse racing. The agreement with Woodbine Entertainment Group will ensure races continue at the Woodbine and Mohawk tracks as the industry adapts to a more sustainable model.” 
 
In order to receive transition funding, racetracks will have to meet accountability and transparency requirements.
 
Woodbine Entertainment Group confirmed their agreement with the Ontario government in a third press release, an arrangement that, “ensures the continuation of live horse racing at Woodbine and Mohawk Racetracks for the next two years.”
 
And finally, the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) announced that they would be reporting to the Ontario Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), effective immediately.
 
“The ORC will continue to support and be a resource to OMAFRA as the racing industry works to move to a more self-sustaining model.” 
 
This move was part of the government’s horse racing industry transition plan, which also includes the continuation of the Horse Improvement Plan and providing animal welfare support.
 
A revised 2013 racing calendar will be announced as agreements are finalized.
 

1 comment

  • Lynn
    Lynn
    Still no word on Flamboro, Grand River or Georgian Downs. My understanding is that those that have signed have agreed upon a rental to keep the slots at the tracks for now (2 Years)but funding for purses will not be a precentage of slots profits but rather a temporary funding by the government. This of course gives the government time to get their casinos up and running and not-slots into bingo halls. At the end of the two years the gov't funding stops and the horseracing is back to the proposed model of purses based on a percentage of the betting handle. So the breeders are still in limbo and the future of horse racing is still in jeoparady. I don't think anyone owning or training horses or employed in the business is breathing any easier.

    Still no word on Flamboro, Grand River or Georgian Downs. My understanding is that those that have signed have agreed upon a rental to keep the slots at the tracks for now (2 Years)but funding for purses will not be a precentage of slots profits but rather a temporary funding by the government. This of course gives the government time to get their casinos up and running and not-slots into bingo halls. At the end of the two years the gov't funding stops and the horseracing is back to the proposed model of purses based on a percentage of the betting handle. So the breeders are still in limbo and the future of horse racing is still in jeoparady. I don't think anyone owning or training horses or employed in the business is breathing any easier.

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