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OLG Meets With Racing

paul-godfrey.jpg

Published: May 7, 2012 11:26 am ET

Last Comment: May 9, 2012 4:21 pm ET | 54 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

The Ontario Harness Horse Association (OHHA), which represents the majority of Standardbred horsepeople in Ontario, met with Mr. Paul Godfrey, Chair of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), and Ms. Beth Webster, Senior VP Marketing, Communications and Stakeholder Relations, on May 2 to discuss the Liberal Government's policy announcement to end the slots-at-racetracks program. President Ken Hardy, General Manager Brian Tropea, and past President Jim Whelan attended the meeting on behalf of OHHA.

The OHHA representatives appreciated the frankness and unambiguous response provided by the OLG Chair. While it is not the message our members needed to hear, it was very clear that the mandate does not include any partnership or revenue sharing agreement for racing in the province of Ontario. Racetracks will not receive any percentage of revenue generated by slots that are left at identified tracks. OHHA was not informed which racetracks would keep slot machines. Regardless, those that do will simply receive a payment from the OLG to lease the space where the slot machines are located at the racetrack. This payment will be consistent with local retail space payments. In other words, it is a straight landlord-tenant relationship. To be clear, there is no revenue sharing for racetracks and no money from gaming for purses. If - and this must be emphasized - racetracks continue to offer racing it will be with monies generated outside of gaming.

OHHA is currently developing a schedule of information meetings for its members to be held within the next couple of weeks. The dates, locations and times of those meetings will be released as they become available. OHHA believes it is important that the membership is current with the latest information.

(OHHA)

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May 9, 2012 - 4:21 pmFor sure, anyone who wants

Derek Reid SAID...

For sure, anyone who wants to forward my letter should feel free to do so. I sent it to the sun, the star, and the globe already, as well as Hudak, Horwath, John O'Toole, and Monte Mcnaughton.

May 9, 2012 - 10:57 amWell said Derek, behind you

Well said Derek, behind you all the way, good work!

May 8, 2012 - 10:38 pmGreat letter Derek - would

Great letter Derek - would love your permission to send this letter to our local papers here in the Ottawa area as well!!

May 8, 2012 - 9:23 pmVery well done Derek Reid.

Lynne Magee SAID...

Very well done Derek Reid. All horsepeople are taxpayers and each one should be sending this message to the McGuinty and Duncan with the expectation of a response. We have all depended on OHRIA to speak for us which is all well and good and they have done well but not well enough. There is strength in numbers and a united voice. Derek, if you give your permission, many people who may not otherwise feel that they could compose such a well-thought out letter, could copy send it. We could flood the offices of McGuinty and Duncan with this excellent letter. They might just get the message.

May 8, 2012 - 9:13 pmrhonda stewart: This

rhonda stewart: This particular bullying Liberal gov't will only respect a "strong" push back....not lobbying or letters etc. The horsepeople are too splintered and need to organize and figure out how to make it too painful and embarassing for the gov't to ignore them. A bully can't be stopped by pleas and polite requests for mercy.

May 8, 2012 - 8:50 pmDerek Reid; we fully agree

reg higgs SAID...

Derek Reid; we fully agree with your letter and intent. It is well researched and written. Dalton, Dwight and the OLG obviously make important decisions that have a huge impact on the economy of Ontario, the lives of thousands of hard working tax payers and the future of thousands of innocent animals without research or consideration and worse still they don't seem to care. We have e mailed all mps of all parties a number of times as well as telephoned several and will continue to do so.

May 8, 2012 - 8:16 pmYES DEREK PLEASE POST YOUR

LIZ THERRIEN SAID...

YES DEREK PLEASE POST YOUR PERMISSION TO FORWARD YOUR LETTER TO LOCAL PAPERS - I WILL BE HAPPY TO SEND IT ON TO THE RICHMOND HILL LIBERAL WITH A REQUEST THAT IT BE PUBLISHED IN ALL OF THE YORK REGION EDITIONS. THERE ARE A NUMBER OF HORSE FARMS AND OWNERS IN THIS AREA.

May 8, 2012 - 5:17 pmSuper Letter Derek! Now we

Super Letter Derek!
Now we have to stop preaching to the choir and get this info out to Main Stream Ontario.
In addition to Liz Therrien's excellent suggestion of CTV and CBC this letter should be sent as an Open Letter to the Editor to every newspaper in the province of Ontario - all the large dailies like The Toronto Star , Sun, Globe every city paper in every city and all the local weeklies etc. I know they all won't publish it but I'm sure enough will that a large number of people in Ontario will get to see what this government is doing.
I know doing this would be a huge job for one person but maybe some way could be found for SC and Derek to provide some others of us with the permission to send this letter to our local papers and maybe Sue Leslie and OHRIA could look after some or all of the big city dailies?
I know I'll gladly send it to the St. Catherines Standard, the West Lincoln News The Grimsby Lincoln News and any other locals I can find. And we can all add our personal localized comments at the same time.

May 8, 2012 - 4:04 pmExcellent letter Derek Reid

LIZ THERRIEN SAID...

Excellent letter Derek Reid - suggest you forward a copy to CTV's W5 and CBC's 5th Estate - request they do a show on the plight of the horseracing industry.
It appears that the medical profession in this province is being treated the same way by the Ministry of Health. Perhaps everyone who is being lied to and bullied by the Liberals should get together and launch that class action lawsuit on behalf of the whole working province before McGuinty recruits enough of the opposition to form his desired majority.

May 8, 2012 - 12:43 pmChuck I agree with you.

Ken Walker SAID...

Chuck I agree with you. Something is not right here. If the slots go out and therefore reducing their revenue to a small amount and then they lose the racing what happens to thier facitilites. It does not make sense that the track management at especially the locations that received letters are not yelling and screaming.

Maybe the horsemen racing at these tracks should ask the track management what they are doing if anything. If nothing maybe they should race somewhere else shut down the track side contact the CPMA and shut down the similucasting at these tracks ect. force the issue. I would but I am not well and I live in Saskatchewan. We lost our industry because the horsemen put their heads in the sand. This is Canada we deserve a right to earn our income and not compete with the government.

May 8, 2012 - 11:52 amDerek Reid your letter was

Derek Reid your letter was excellent and covered the issue completely,You accurately point out there is no way the OLG could have the employment statistics of the horse industry,and were basically lying.So what can we do to help the situation.Firstly, anyone who can put pen to paper or send an E.Mail should write their local newspaper and also the Toronto Star and Toronto Sun. Next the ORIHA should sue the OLG for damages of 350 million, sure it won't win but the action itself will bring attention to our industry and we will have more support than the Leafs because the OLG is universally hated. Paul Godfrey is frank with the OHHA while sticking a knife in their back.The only way we will win this is to force the OLG to change their position.Finally we should do our best to hit the OLG's bottom line,bumper stickers dont buy lottery tickets, or similar actions.

May 8, 2012 - 11:09 amI agree with Mr. Miller with

Paul Gangle SAID...

I agree with Mr. Miller with lodging a class action suit against the OLG. I would however, recommend that we get a legal opinion first. It strikes me that we would have a valid case given the fact that so many livelihoods are affected. It's no different than a wrongful dismissal case involving an employee. The gov't needs to be taught that their under handed tactics along with their mis-information to the public is totally unacceptable.

May 8, 2012 - 8:57 amLets get a class action

Lets get a class action lawsuit going against the OLG for trampling the rights of citizens for not allowing a referendum on this issue.
Charles

May 8, 2012 - 12:34 amI think we all know that the

I think we all know that the tracks that continue to take advantage of slot revenues through until March 2013 are not likely to give the OLG the boot. I too, would love to see the tracks issue notice to the OLG that they were closing the slot parlours immediately. This would give the OLG and the Liberal government a taste of their own medicine with a major loss of revenue. But this simply won't happen.
However, there is one other consideration that could become a major factor in requiring municipalities to hold referendums on casino locations in the future. Based on some recent sample polls it does not appear like there is much support for stand alone casinos in this province. Therefore, OLG may not have the options that they thought if ontarians reject casinos in their municipalties through a mandatory referendum vote. Lets hope that Mr. McNaughton's private members bill passes third reading. It would be ironic if all municipalities rejected casinos and the OLG was forced to renegotiate with racetracks as they had to in the beginning. The trouble is by that time a tremendous amount of damage will have already been done to the horse racing industry!!

May 7, 2012 - 11:14 pmHello all, I just sent the

Derek Reid SAID...

Hello all, I just sent the following letter to duncan and mcg, my plan this time is to keep sending it to them every day until I get a response.

Mr. Duncan and Mr. Mcguinty,

On February 28th, I sent a letter to both of you asking questions in regards to your short sighted and disastrous decision to end the slots at racetrack program. After not receiving any answers from either of you, I am now demanding, as a taxpayer and the payer of both of your salaries, that you provide me with the following information.

First, I demand either of you to show me where in the Drummond report it was stated that the slots at racetracks program should be eliminated at once. When looking through the Drummond report, what I read was the following:

"Review and rationalize the current provincial financial support provided to the horse racing industry so that the industry is more appropriately sustained by the wagering revenues it generates rather than through subsidies or their preferential treatments."

"Re-evaluate, on a value-for-money basis, the practice of providing a portion of net slot revenues to the horse racing and breeding industry and municipalities in order to substantially reduce and better target that support."

In neither of those recommendations did I read that the slots at racetracks program should be terminated immediately. What I read, was that the program needs to be reviewed to ensure that the province is receiving value from the program. In my mind, the province receiving more than $15 billion dollars over the 14 years of the program, with $0 in capital costs and virtually no overhead costs is a tremendous value for money. Therefore, I am demanding that you provide me with a copy of the review that was performed that justified to the both of you that value for money is not being achieved. If no review was performed, than I demand to know why, when this provincial government makes multi-billion dollar decisions that affect tens of thousands of people, that hard evidence and facts somehow get trumped by speculation and conjecture.

Second, in a March 30th interview with the CBC the finance minister said that the oft-reported number of 60,000 jobs in the horse racing industry is "grossly exaggerated" and "according to the OLG, it's much smaller than that." I am self employed in the racing industry and am therefore not an employee of the OLG. No one else at my stable is employed by the OLG, nor is my veterinarian, nor are my hay, straw, feed, and tack suppliers. The OLG has never surveyed or petitioned me to determine the extent of my involvement in the racing business. As this is the case, unless the OLG's mandate has been secretly extended to include processing our income tax returns, I fail to understand what kind of greater insight the OLG has in regards to the employment figures of an industry to which they are not the employers of. I therefore demand to know exactly what number of jobs the OLG told you they believe to be employed in the racing industry, and what methodology they used to determine their number. Further, in 2008, your own Ministry of Government and Consumer Services commissioned the report titled "STRATEGIC VISION AND DIRECTION FOR THE ONTARIO HORSE RACING AND BREEDING INDUSTRY." In this report it is stated that:

"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."

What justification do you have to accept the OLG's numbers (whatever they are) as gospel and yet ignore the numbers being provided to you by one of your own government ministries ? As that is the case, I also demand to know what the yearly budget of the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services is. Since you are looking to save money for the province, and since you obviously have no trust in the work they do or place any value in their opinions or findings, I suggest this is a department that can easily be eliminated.

Third, in a May 2nd meeting between the OLG and the Ontario Harness Horsemen's Association, it was stated that although some racetracks in Ontario will retain slot machines, there will be no sharing of revenue generated with the racing industry. Any remaining racetrack-slot operations will exist as strictly landlord-tenant operations. I demand to know exactly how much 'rent' the OLG plans to pay to the owners of racetracks that will still be hosting slot machines. In February of this year the liberal party paid to create radio ads that alleged the PC party "started a secret subsidy for a few very wealthy racetrack owners." We'll ignore for the moment that the slots at racetrack program was neither a subsidy nor a secret. If you refuse to provide me with what you plan to pay for rent at the remaining racetrack-slot operations, then I demand to know why it is acceptable for your party to negotiate secret deals with wealthy racetrack operators but it is apparently unacceptable for anyone else to do so. I lastly demand to know if these new parameters for the hosting of gaming in Ontario (private company as landlord, OLG as tenant, no gaming revenue shared with landlord) will also be the conditions for MGM or any other casino operator you are negotiating with to build new casinos for you. Will they also be told to build a casino for you at their own expense and accept whatever rent you feel is justified in giving them, or will they be allowed to share in the revenue as well? If they will be allowed to share in revenue, at what percentage?

As I said earlier, I am not only a horseman, but a taxpayer in the province of Ontario. This is not the old Soviet Union. This is not North Korea. This is not Cuba. It is unacceptable that as a citizen of a supposedly free country I should have to accept silence and neglect from our elected "leader" while serious questions surrounding my life and livelihood are being ignored.

Derek Reid
Courtice, ONT

May 7, 2012 - 10:45 pmIn the event OHRIA fails and

In the event OHRIA fails and it appears that race tracks and the rest of the industry need to negotiate seperately my negotiating group is led by Hec Cloutier and Stan Sadinsky because the last time I checked our problem is getting a meeting with the Liberals not getting PC MPPs to attend our rallies. Both of these gentlemen have a much better chance of acheiving that goal than OHHA or any other horsemen group in this province.

May 7, 2012 - 10:43 pmNorm, Racetrack owners will

Norm,

Racetrack owners will not allow "Slots only" on their property, raw business sense alone tells you not to accept $5000/month after over a decade of taking in hundreds of millions a year. The only thing that should be taking over the property are weeds and realtor signs.

May 7, 2012 - 10:33 pmNorm, you are confusing me

Norm, you are confusing me (mind you I'm easily confused at times), should the OLG go elsewhere or not?

Secondly, we are working on "concrete productive steps" - lobbying for legislative changes to allow modernized wagering options, at least I hope this is on OHRIA's agenda.

May 7, 2012 - 10:30 pmLadies and gentlemen what

Ladies and gentlemen what caused the awakening to the fact that the Olg and the Liberal government have no funding model in plan for purse accounts or breeders awards after march 2013. Mr Godfrey said absolutely nothing different than what he said in his first press conference three months ago. Ohha is one of 6 horsemen groups in Ontario and does not represent breeders so a meeting with Mr Whelan and his group in no way changes the fight going forward. OHRIA is valiantly trying to represent all members of this industry and are going to have to cross the bridge when it becomes obvious that different groups in the industry are going to receive a different fate in the new world. That point has not been reached but it also obvious that it is appraching quickly. Lets not destroy whatever momentum OHRIA has created with the government to sit down and negotiate some agreement to a funding model that works for a large part of the industry. If they fail there will be lots of time to put on our placards and blockade the OLG casinos and attempt to get the public and governments attention thru lawsuits and civil disobedience.

May 7, 2012 - 10:13 pmI don't like what Godfrey

Tim Dean SAID...

I don't like what Godfrey said, but is the same thing the Liberals have been saying all along....NO Slots means NO Slots....the only chance, the slots agreement had, was lost when the NDP voted for the budget..end of story....now it was said again, by a different person...and it will be said by another person next week....guess what...it's still NO Slots...and we are alarmed that Godfrey said the same thing we were told 3 months ago....
We need to focus our resources and find a model that can survive..if there is one..I believe the days of $10,000 to $50,000 regular purses are gone
Maybe $2000 to $10,000 at 2 or 3 tracks maybe
Less then 11 months and then where does the purse money come from ?????
as far as a lawyer being involved ...one would have stepped forward if it had a chance in court.....and you won't get a date before March 31, 2013

May 7, 2012 - 9:54 pmPeople need to understand

Norm Brunet SAID...

People need to understand that IF given a choice track owners will take slots over racing. It's a matter of better profit less overhead and trouble. Company's like Great Canadian Gaming and WEG are driven by the bottom line and will certainly opt for slots. It's ridiculous to entertain the thought that track owners will kick out the OLG.
The sooner the race industry realizes the dire predicament it is in the sooner concrete productive steps can be taken.
Without a doubt the OLG's plans are to turn the "Slots at racetracks" into just slot parlours.

May 7, 2012 - 9:26 pmWhat if racetracks went back

What if racetracks went back to charging for parking. Charge a significant parking fee that is refunded at the mutuel windows to the horse players only. Set the fee high to discourage the slot players and reduce OLG revenues or make the fee reasonable and create a revenue stream for the racetracks. I'm not sure if this is even feasible but its a thought.

May 7, 2012 - 9:06 pmYou're correct Rob. All

You're correct Rob.
All tracks that got their notice of closure in March 2013 - should serve OLG their 14, 30 days notice (whatever it is) TOMORROW!!! - because the wrecking ball is on order and all remaining contents will be pulverized. We can make more headway in the next 10 months then they ever will. The losses at OLG will pile up, there is no way they can get Casinos up and running to cover the billions they will lose when the Slots go dark. Don't just lay there and bleed, get up and do something!
Grow a pair, your parlours were all paid for years ago.

May 7, 2012 - 8:32 pmI am also an owner, and I

Susan Hutton SAID...

I am also an owner, and I agree with Beverley that the original agreement needs to be made available for all the stakeholders AND LAWYERS to read.

I'd also like to know whether current zoning of tracks would allow them to be used for gambling without horse racing occuring. I don't hear track owners speaking up. Are there some side deals being struck by some tracks? This is the way this government and the OLG seems to work - divide and conquer. Will side deals be presented as fait accompli? If side deals are being made who will they throw to the gutter (ie. training centres, vets, others)?

In regards to the tracks kicking out the slots, the tracks like any other companies with space, can set their own rate for rental. The OLG may not be willing to pay it, it, but it's up to the tracks to set it, not the OLG. I think 25-30% of projected slot revenue would be a good rate of rental. Companies like MGM aren't about to enter into any agreement for "local retail space payments", who does the OLG think they are kidding.

May 7, 2012 - 8:17 pmApparently, the agreements

Lynne Magee SAID...

Apparently, the agreements are between the racetracks and the OLG. The horsepeople's groups were able to view them when they were first negotiated but did not do so when the agreements were re-negotiated at the end of the first term. I wonder if the racetracks would let OHHA and the other groups see them at this stage.

May 7, 2012 - 8:13 pmWe definitely need to make

John Hill SAID...

We definitely need to make the public more aware of what is happening and the consequences. U.S Steel or GM,Ford or Chrysler lay of a couple hundred people and its front page news, why not us. We should be at the tracks with information of the good being done by the slot agreement and pettions of support to sign. Get every local paper and tv station the true facts, they only know what McGuinty and Duncan have told them, and have them do stories on it and put faces on the industry. From here on this battle must be more public, no more Mr Nice Guy. I think the tracks will support us now that basically they have been shown the door also.

May 7, 2012 - 8:06 pmIf anyone receives a notice

If anyone receives a notice of termination, they go and make alternate arrangements. Time for the race tracks to make other arrangements. Years ago I leased a service station from Gulf Oil, they gave me a notice of termination, then realized no one would lease the station with the terms they wanted and came to me to try to keep me in the station, I had made other arrangements. That station has been closed for a very long time over thirty years. We do not need the OLG. We can do better. Bruce T. Winning

May 7, 2012 - 7:46 pmI SAY GO ON STRIKE AND SHUT

I SAY GO ON STRIKE AND SHUT DOWN EVERY SLOT MACHINE AND BACK THE GOVERMENT INTO A CORNER

May 7, 2012 - 7:00 pmstop commenting and get a

Diane Lord SAID...

stop commenting and get a lawyer!!!!

May 7, 2012 - 7:00 pmI agree full heartedly with

Peggy Powell SAID...

I agree full heartedly with Kieth. We played Mr nice guy lonf enough. Now it's time to play the game their way.

May 7, 2012 - 6:56 pmDave Lumsden Just a

Dave Lumsden
Just a question. What owners, trainers, drivers, association would like to join in a lawsuit against the OLG? It is clearly, in my opinion, the only way to get their attention. I also believe they have acted improperly and that a judge will rule in our favour. I believe it's our only way forward after what I just read. Thoughts?

May 7, 2012 - 6:55 pm@ Chuck Ibey most of the

bill gemmill SAID...

@ Chuck Ibey

most of the tracks in Ontario are simply not interested ( obviously by past inaction ) in the time and effort required to host horse racing as a stand alone business. Windsor is closing its door's in August after all, no surprise there.

Horsemen, almost all, have their heads in the sand. The decision to elimininate the slots at recetrack program has been made and without a change in government the decision will stand.

What every track owner with a stake in this business that is interested in hosting live racing should be doing is figuring out how to get people in the seats betting on the horses, because the days of the slot money are over.

It's been over a month since the announcement and so far nothing but protests and letter writing. The silence from the various track management teams about plans going forward with horse racing without the slots is deafening.

If nothing changes soon, horsemen, be them owners, or trainers will soon be faced with a stark choice, race at WEG or one of the two or three tracks in Ontario still racing next year or pack up ship out to the states, or take a chance on Alberta or B.C.

Either way unless people " magically " get interested in betting on the horses AND going to the track the writing is on the wall for a lot of people working in this industry.

May 7, 2012 - 6:49 pmSimple solution: Horse

Simple solution: Horse people and their families BOYCOTT OLG SLOTS!!! BET HORSES!!!

May 7, 2012 - 6:15 pmI am an owner and would like

I am an owner and would like to see the copy of the document pertaining to the agreement with the horsemen and OLG. I am unable to find it on line. Please enlighten me. Are we taking the legal path to save horseracing in On? What legal stand do we have, and what are we going to do about it? We have to seek legal action now. BL

May 7, 2012 - 5:50 pmWhy were racetracks used in

Roy Steele SAID...

Why were racetracks used in the first place because it was a good fit not to much retrofitting space being used for gambling. cant see theses slots going in malls.
So collectivly why dont all the tracks say take em out asap. That would get their attention no transition period means loss of revenue. Would get their attention if nothing else and put the govt back to the starting mark all those years ago. Its the only bargaining chip we have. Cant rely on the opposition they abstained elected to vote for our intrests and they abstained were on our own cornered lets start the fight.
The opposition is concerned about how much money it will cost for another election lets loan them the money.

May 7, 2012 - 5:06 pmThe OLG has been

Lynne Magee SAID...

The OLG has been investigated for a scandal a couple of years back. Mr. Godfrey was supposed to go in and clean up the mess. He appears to have made a bigger one. No surprise there if you know how he performed in his previous appointments. I don't believe he has ever been elected by the people.

May 7, 2012 - 4:50 pmThere must be some lawyers

keith hastie SAID...

There must be some lawyers involved in racing that could apply for an injunction against the OLG. GODFREY & the LIBERAL party are abusing their power.There must be some way to stop what they are doing, and hold them to account for it, other than an election.

I have voted Liberal all my life, and I now have to hang my head in shame.

There is an old saying that comes to mind about all this.(THEY CAN'T DO IT TO YOU IF YOU DON'T LET THEM )

LET ALL THE HORSEPEOPLE STAND TOGETHER AND STOP THIS DICTORIAL BEHAVIOR.

THE OLG I BELIVE IS A CROWN CORPERATION, AND AS SUCH SHOULD BE OPERATED FOR THE BENIFIT OF ALL ONTARIANS, NOT JUST FOR THE BENIFIT OF THE RULING PARTY.

CONSDERING THE POLLS THAT SHOW ABOUT 75% FAVOR FOR LEAVING GAMING AS IT IS, IT IS HARD TO COMPREHEND THEIR MATHAMATICS IN ALL OF THIS

KEITH HASTIE

May 7, 2012 - 4:29 pmNorm, I agree something is

Ken Walker SAID...

Norm, I agree something is fishy here. Why are the track owners not yelling and putting up a fight? I think you are right the OLG seem to have gone around the back door. Why would anyone let the tenant tell them how much they will pay for rent. Seems fishy to me.

May 7, 2012 - 4:04 pmWhy are the racehorse people

max cordon SAID...

Why are the racehorse people not picketing the slots facilities and casinos? The students in Quebec are getting more headlines than the racehorse people in Ontario.

May 7, 2012 - 3:20 pmSomeone needs to investigate

LIZ THERRIEN SAID...

Someone needs to investigate OLG. This government delegates WAAAY too much responsibility. In a year or two you will see the exact same scandal as Ehealth and ORNGE emerge from OLG when it becomes obvious that shutting down slots and building new casinos doesn't work. Just another bunch of overpaid "consultants" and MBA's making bad decisions while padding their own salaries and bonuses. They'll get away with it because NOBODY'S WATCHING THE STORE.
I agree with the sentiments on this page 100%. It's time for lawyers and fighting fire with fire - no more Mr. Ontario nice guy.

May 7, 2012 - 3:20 pmThe representatives of the

The representatives of the OHHA appreciated the frankness shown by Paul Godfrey, however I doubt if this frankness extended to him telling them how much the OLG's revenue has decreased since the slots at Windsor Raceway were closed

May 7, 2012 - 3:09 pmThe intent of a 'termination

Norm Brunet SAID...

The intent of a 'termination clause' in a contract is for the parties involved to amicably go their own way and sets out conditions which in this case is the 1 year notice to all parties. The OLG did give notice but are not going their own way. By doing this they are dealing in bad faith and going around the horseman's back to re-negotiate a contract with owners alone. I doubt very much that the OLG would try to pull this off without talking to the owners or getting some kind of feedback from them.

May 7, 2012 - 3:06 pmMaybe OHHA could arrange

Maybe OHHA could arrange meetings between track owner and the horse people that have allowed the owners to make millions and millions off of us, now its time for them to stand up and lock the doors and fight for what is right.Close the doors so the OLG can see how much they will lose.

May 7, 2012 - 2:24 pmIs this the Canada we love

Is this the Canada we love or is this the start of Communism moving in? To be told by the OLG what they will pay as rent is bordering on Communism.I posted the comment a few weeks ago, that the tracks should get together and give the OLG an ultimatum of either standing by the original agreement or get your machines out of our tracks. Where could they find car parking space and suitable buildings at short notice?I saw an advert today referring to a $50 million payout on the Lotto Max so the money we get from the sharing agreement is not really a lot, when you consider how many peoples live are affected.Canada and Ontario were looked on by the rest of the world a #1 in harness racing. When I lived in the the UK, it was always said that the best flat racing is in England, the best steeplechasers {over the jumps} are in Ireland but the best Standardbred racing is in Ontario.

May 7, 2012 - 1:51 pmI have to agree if its over;

Chuck Ibey SAID...

I have to agree if its over; why have the slot machines at the tracks taking money away from wagering! Time for the tracks and horsemen to get together and work out new contracts. The just thing would be for the tracks to lock the doors to the slots and give OLG 30 days to remove them from the track premises. You might just as well deny them half a billion in revenue for 2012. Nice job by The Liberals. Hopefully everyone connected to racing will donate some time to go work for the PC Candidate in the upcoming by-election in Kitchener-Waterloo and every other By-election that may be called. Obviously this govt has no concern or compassion for agriculture and what is part of Canadian Culture. Shame on anyone connected to racing that may cast a vote in favor of this party. Chuck Ibey

May 7, 2012 - 1:50 pmI find Bill Thompson

Ken Walker SAID...

I find Bill Thompson response to be the correct response. I tried to post something similar early in April however it was not posted maybe I was too blunt. But the race track owners need to act now. Maybe they should charge and admission charge to customers using slots. Ken

May 7, 2012 - 1:44 pmWe are viewing this from the

James Feeley SAID...

We are viewing this from the relative stability of New York and although we breed Ontario and are commited to our classy connections in Lansdowne; we think as Mr Brunet suggests that it is time to call in the lawyers. Contracts are made to be kept and if they are broken, there must be a consequence that the entity breaking the contract must pay. If there is a contract until 2015; enforce it. If not, I am certian there is one "junk yard dog" attorney that can stir things up. Ontarians as a whole are a polite and civil bunch, but that ship has sailed...time to get tough.

If it was OLG that is the villain here, Godfrey and crew,time to sick the dogs on them and the other paperpushers who are in effect, ruining us all . Someone is behind this and it is not the population of Ontario. Who is the culprit or culprits here/ Is it just these opportunistic and, sorry, cavalier politicians? Pressure should be applied where it will do most good. Is it the overpaid OLG bureaucrats? If it is go after them where it hurts: the pocketbook. Years ago when our Governor Cuomo's dad had his job,Mario destroyed our business in NYState with one signature on a bill which then became law. Now Andrew is broadening gaming in New York with the cooperation of the flats and the trots. We allied ourselves with the number one industry in NY State: agriculture.My farm has a crop just like vegatble growers: it's race horses that are the foundation of the gaming industry. It needs to be said guys: there was so much money being bandied about in the slots program, that the standardbred indusrty took it for granted.Wake up and get the foxes out of our hen house.

May 7, 2012 - 1:26 pmBill Thompson is absolutely

Bill Thompson is absolutely right. Racetracks have got to tell the OLG that slots are not welcome in our facilities without a revenue sharing agreement. What little income a retail space rent would provide will do nothing for the solvency of the track and contribute nothing to the purse accounts.

Right now is the time to draw a line in the sand. If the tracks act now, the OLG have no other options and it will take significant time for them to get other options. I'm certain they do not wish to pass up on the billion dollars they are expecting those machines to generate this year. If the industry waits until the drop dead date to make a stand we are giving them time to generate other solutions.

The question of legal action is also a good one. How can there not be repercussions built into the original agreement in the event either party fails to fulfill the terms of the contract.

May 7, 2012 - 1:08 pmYES GET THE LAWYERS INVOLVED

Georg Leber SAID...

YES GET THE LAWYERS INVOLVED RIGHT NOW.
The longer we dance with the government and the OLG the further out the door we get. Start fighting these guys in court.

Frankly I think that we are being steamrolled and we are saying OK. Diplomacy rarely works in these cases. The government cannot be trusted (on any level). Godfrey himself was one of the most hated politicians of our era. Now he is the guy we have to deal with? He cannot be trusted with his mother's money.

Georg Leber-ICR Racing

May 7, 2012 - 12:48 pmIt's time for the race track

It's time for the race track owners to step up and form there own united front and to tell the OLG, either we get our 20% and honor the contract previously signed through 2015 or take your slots out of our facilities. The amount the government is making out this cash cow and maybe seeing it all come to a crashing halt, would maybe make them wake up and smell the coffee. It's time the for the racetracks to provide a united front and stand with the horseman and woman to win this battle.

May 7, 2012 - 12:21 pmTime to get the lawyers

Norm Brunet SAID...

Time to get the lawyers involved. We were first and they are infringing upon our territory and customers. If they don't like the revenue sharing then they should go elsewhere. Riverboat casinos are forced to share revenues in Illinois and they are not even at the tracks. I can't see a court in this country NOT siding with the race industry.

May 7, 2012 - 12:05 pmIn other words.....Harness

In other words.....Harness Racing in Ontario,as we know it......is over. Nice job Liberal Government!!

May 7, 2012 - 12:04 pmGreat........lets rent our

Tony Bolger SAID...

Great........lets rent our direct competion some space to compete with us!!! All these tracks invested money to conform to OLG requirements and then are told TFB we want out of our agreement but ......we will rent the space off you knowing they are the only game in town that require them since no one else can set up a slot parlor.

Mr Godfrey famous deals done by him.........lets buld a stadium Downtown for the Blue Jays.....spend a half a billon dollars on it and 20 yrs later sell it to Ted Rogers for 25 million......I wonder who will be on the receiving end of this deal when it comes crashing down!!!!

May 7, 2012 - 11:49 amAs far as Paul Godfrey is

As far as Paul Godfrey is concerned it is obvious he is completely out of touch with reality,the tenant does not call the shots, no racetrack is going to let the OLG have space at less than 20 percent as far as his empty threat of putting slot machines at other locations I am sure municipalities will not approve that.There is one thing all horsepeople can do, and that is stop buying lottery tickets or other OLG products.It is becoming increasingly clear that the cancellation of the slots at racetracks program was the brainchild of the OLG.


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