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Here's how the Horse Racing Industry affects Ontario's Economy. Does it affect your farm business?

This is an intteresting Fact Sheet on how Ontario's Horse Racing Industry affects the economy. How much will it affect farmers? Does it affect your farm business?

Fact Sheet: Economic Benefits from Ontario 's Horse Racing Industry

A Partnership That Works!


In the late 1990's and throughout the past decade, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (now the OLG) entered into a revenue sharing agreement with racetrack operators and host municipalities in Ontario to allow the placement of slot machines at racetracks.

The racetracks provided the OLG with access to their existing facilities, saving the government the massive expense of building their own facilities and having to gain the approval of municipalities and the public to build gambling venues in their back yards. This agreement was not entered into lightly by the horse racing industry. After more than two years of economic review and negotiation, both the horse racing industry and the Ontario government's Management Board of Cabinet agreed that a 20% share of the slots revenue could offset the loss of horse racing's wagering dollar and customer base to sustain the horse racing industry. This revenue share would also help to offset the cost of operating and maintaining the buildings and properties in which the OLG's government operated slots are housed.

For more than 10 years, the Slots at Racetracks Program has been a highly successful partnership which has allowed the horse racing industry to sustain itself and continue providing many economic benefits to the rural and municipal economies, while earning the provincial government more than $1.3 billion dollars in revenue every year.

Impact of the Horse Racing Industry by the numbers:
* $261 million dollars in revenue for the province of Ontario exclusive of slot revenue
* Horse Racing Industry spends more than $2 billion dollars per year in Ontario , with more than 80% of that money being spent in rural Ontario .
* Estimated 60,000 jobs are attributed to the horse racing and breeding industry.
* $1.5 billion dollars in wages and salaries are sustained annually by the total expenditures of the horse racing industry.
* Where the OLG's resort casinos have lost millions of dollars, the Slots at Racetracks Program have returned billions of dollars in revenue. "Talk about value for money!" *

The OLG revenue sharing program has offset the negative financial impact slots at racetracks would otherwise have on the racing industry's bottom line. The ever increasing competition imposed by the slots and other expanded gaming would further erode the wagering dollar to the point that the industry's survival would be at serious risk. The government is looking to reduce the horse racing industry's revenue share at a time when they are looking to expand their own gaming operations in direct competition with horse racing. In addition, if the proposed changes to the Criminal Code are implemented, the province's will be allowed to operate sports betting, once again in direct competition with the horse racing industry.

Out of the more than 60,000 jobs that would be at risk, many of those employed have worked in the industry all their lives, some are even second and third generation racetrack workers who would be unlikely to find jobs in other industries.

By preserving the existing program, the government would continue to collect $1.5 billion dollars annually from the race horse industry (through OLG's share of slot revenue and non slot revenue paid to the government) while ensuring Ontario's horse racing industry remains economically sound for those rural communities and the 60,000 families that rely on the race horse industry for employment.

* Look for OHRIA's next Fact Sheet "Talk about value for money!"

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A new media release was sent to us.

I wanted to post here to continue the discussions.


Duncan's Proposal to End the Slots at Racetrack Program Would Add $1.1 B to Deficit: OHRIA

Finance Minister Dwight Duncan has been falsely referring to the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Slots at Racetrack revenue sharing program as a subsidy. His claim is that the Government has been providing a $345 million dollar annual subsidy to Ontario's Horse Racing Industry. In a recent fundraising email to supporters, the Ontario Liberal Party suggested that they are "choosing to support our youngest learners over wealthy race track owners".


Duncan's plans to save the Government $345 million from this alleged subsidy, would actually result in adding another $1.1 billion dollars to Ontario's already out of control deficit. According to OLG's financial statements, the Government of Ontario is receiving $1.1 billion dollars per year from the Slots at Racetracks Program. The horse racing industry, which has made space available to OLG slots and allowed competition between the slots and horse racing at their facilities, receives only 20% of the revenue from the slots. The Government walks away with 75% of the slots revenue and host municipalities receive 5%.


If the Liberals end the Slots at Racetrack program, they will be forced to cut an additional $1.1 billion dollars a year from Ontario's budget. This represents nearly 75% of the cost of full day kindergarden or three times the cost of the Liberal's 30% tuition reduction.


"The Ontario Liberals need to make a decision. If they want to see the government revenue stabilize and grow, they can't be ending programs that generate $1.1 billion dollars a year for the Government, which is exactly what Dwight Duncan is proposing to do." Said Sue Leslie, President of the Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association. "They can't have it both ways. If they end the Slots at Racetrack program, they will lose $1.1 billion dollars of revenue each year. We are supporting Ontario's youngest learners by generating more than a billion dollars a year for the Government." Leslie added.


According to an economic study prepared for OHRIA in November 2011, there are 31,441 full time jobs sustained by Ontario's Horse Racing Industry, with up to 60,000 jobs supported by the industry when factoring in part-time and casual employment.


With expenditures of nearly $2 billion dollars in the province of Ontario and 80% of that money being spent in rural municipalities, horse racing is the second largest subsection of Ontario's agriculture economy.


"We will continue to increase pressure on the Government to recognize the devastating impact a short sighted decision to attempt to save $345 million dollars would have on Government revenues and the 60,000 families who rely on our industry for a pay cheque." Added Leslie.


The OLG's Annual Report for 2009-2010 is available on the OLG website at www.olg.ca


The economic study prepared for OHRIA is available at http://ohria.com



Slots under review; payment to horse racing industry to end by March 31, 2013


Bullet News CENTRAL HURON - Annual payments to the horse racing industry will end in just over a year and all slots locations are under review, the provincial government announced today.

The government has directed the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation review the number of gaming sites it operates and to wind down the Slots at Racetracks program on March 31, 2013, according to a press release issued this morning.

It is unclear how the raceway and gaming facility in Clinton will be affected. OLG Slots at Clinton Raceway, which opened its doors in 2000, employed 92 people in 2011 and operates more than 100 slot machines. Clinton Raceway operates a half-mile track, stabling and paddocks, with about 20 race days through the summer months. The raceway, which has operated for 42 years, employs 70 people at the height of racing season, and has 32 horse people.

It will also change the fee model for municipalities hosting gaming sites. The Municipality of Central Huron receives five per cent of slot revenue, which injected $640,000 into its coffers in 2011.

“We are focused, more than ever, on balancing the budget while continuing to provide the best education and health care in the world. Modernizing OLG’s operations and business model is an example of how we are ensuring our assets are delivering the greatest value to taxpayers,” said Dwight Duncan, who is the minister of finance.

Duncan announced last month the province would evaluate what he referred to as a “subsidy” of up to $345 million yearly to support horseracing in Ontario. He said the money may be better spent on health care and education.

Raceway operators say they are not subsidized. Instead, they say they are business partners who receive 10 per cent of revenue as the owners of the buildings in which slots are located. Another 10 per cent goes to horsemen purses, divided among winners during the summer racing series and five per cent goes to host municipalities.

The recently released Drummond Report is recommending that Ontarian’s have alternative sites to racetracks where they can play the slots.

The Drummond Commission was formed to look at program and service efficiencies. Its report is expected to help shape the 2012 budget.

The government has directed the OLG to implement a number of other proposals:

  • Reconfigure the number of gaming sites and tailor the types of gaming activities made available at each site;
  • Launch multi-lane sales of lottery tickets at major retail outlets, including grocery stores;
  • Increase operational efficiencies by expanding the role of the private sector; and
  • Allow one new casino in the GTA, subject to an OLG business case and municipal approval.This story will be updated.

Liberal Reports Support Ontario Horse Racing's Employment Figures

Earlier this week Ontario's Finance Minister Dwight Duncan stated that the employment figures showing 60,000 people are employed directly or indirectly by horse racing are "grossly exaggerated," and that "nobody" buys that number. Clearly one group outside racing does buy that number: the Liberal government.

In an article posted on CBC.ca Friday morning, two Liberal government reviews support horse racing's job figures.

According to CBC, a report to the Minister of Government and Consumer Services penned in 2008 reads: "The horse racing and breeding industry is labour intensive and supports approximately 55,000 full and part-time jobs, many of which are in the agricultural sector of Ontario and would be difficult to replace."

Back in 2004, a report to the Ministry of Public Infrastructure Renewal gave an estimate that "40,040 Ontarians owe their permanent jobs to the horse racing and horse breeding industries."

Duncan's comments came on Wednesday, with along with statements that Ontario's 17 tracks make up one quarter of all the racetracks in North America. Taking into account the three breeds in Ontario, North America's total number of standardbred, thoroughbred and quarter-horse tracks is around 200.

Copies of both reports are available here.

Article in the Guelph Mercury:

Horse-racing industry still reeling from shock of losing Slots at Racetracks program

CAMPBELLVILLE — It’s qualifying morning at Mohawk Raceway, sun shining, the paddock a colourful, clattering carnival of perpetual equine motion, and Dr. John Hennessey and his veterinary assistant Ashley Saunders are having just a little trouble.

A standard-bred named Knows Nothing (who, to be fair, seems sharper than his handle suggests) is objecting to the “twitch” that will grab his nose and hold his head steady while Hennessey inserts an endoscope down a nostril to have a look at the horse’s respiratory system.

“He’s a little bit of a bugger,” laughs 24-year-old Saunders, a University of Guelph grad, as the snorting Knows Nothing, whom she’s worked with before, is finally secured.

“I love this job,” she says. “I just love it. Every day I just love going to work. I have Sundays off and I actually miss it.”

Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan was messing with a lot of hearts, and a lot of livelihoods, when his budget last month proposed to scrap the Slots at Racetracks program that helped shore up the racing industry as lotteries and casinos changed the gaming culture over recent decades.

And in paddocks around the province, Duncan’s Liberal government is being called worse names than Saunders’ fond epithet for old Knows Nothing.

At Mohawk, amid the whinnies, the mucking out of stalls, the clatter of drivers’ “bikes,” the washing down of steaming horses fresh from the track, the squawking loudspeaker calling the field for the next race, they were trying to figure out the rationale for the government’s retreat from their business.

“It’s mind-boggling,” says Bill O’Donnell, 63, a director of the Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association who’s been in the business since his Nova Scotia boyhood.

“We are completely confused. We haven’t had any dialogue hardly with them.”

O’Donnell was informed of the move only the night before Duncan’s announcement earlier in March that the government intended to end the $345-million-a-year program as part of an Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. overhaul.

The Slots at Racetracks program was established in 1998 as racetracks, once an entertainment focal point in small-town Ontario, watched revenues siphoned off by lotteries and casinos.

It was intended to support the industry by covering the costs of operating and maintaining the racetrack facilities in which the OLG-operated slots were housed.

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