OHRIA Responds To Slots-At-Racetracks Partnership Review
Published: February 13, 2012 4:01 pm ET
Last Comment: February 18, 2012 5:10 pm ET | 22 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments
While the official word is expected to be announced on Wednesday, Ontario's Finance Minister Dwight Duncan revealed details of Don Drummond's economic report that could mean changes for the province's horse racing industry.
In addressing the Economic Club of Canada ahead of Wednesday's release, Duncan stated that the cash-strapped government will review the $345 million allotted to quarter, thoroughbred and harness racing in Ontario each year through the Ontario Lottery & Gaming Commission's slots-at-racetracks partnership.
"We are considering if government should be in a specific line of business or service delivery," said Duncan. "If not, then we will get out of that business."
“The OLG slots at racetracks program is not a subsidy, it is a successful revenue sharing partnership between the Government of Ontario, the Ontario Horse Racing Industry and the municipalities that host OLG slots at racetracks,” said Sue Leslie, President of the Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association (OHRIA) in a statement issued Monday afternoon.
A November, 2011 report for OHRIA on the economic impacts of Ontario’s horse racing industry demonstrates the significant economic benefit the industry continues to have on rural Ontario. Some of the key findings include:
- Ontario’s Horse Racing Industry employs an estimated 60,000 Ontarians and pays a total of $1.5 billion dollars of wages and salaries each year in Ontario. The horse racing industry is the second largest sub-sector of the agricultural economy with a contribution in excess of wheat, eggs, poultry and hogs in 2010.
- Over the last decade annual expenditures by the horse racing industry has increased by 67% to $2 billion dollars in 2010 from $1.2 billion in 2000. Approximately 80% of this expenditure occurs in Ontario’s rural agriculture communities where it provides much needed economic growth.
- Government revenue from Ontario’s horse racing revenue has increased by 27% over the last ten years with the province of Ontario receiving $261 million dollars a year from industry not including OLG profits from slot machines.
“Eliminating the OLG slots at racetrack program would substantially reduce jobs in rural Ontario and take $138 million dollars of funding from the municipalities that host OLG slots at racetracks,” continued Leslie. “We are hopeful the government of Ontario will recognize the damage that would be done to both the rural and municipal Ontario economy if they were to change or reduce the OLG slots revenue sharing program.”