MINISTER OF FINANCE – DWIGHT DUNCAN (top), DON DRUMMOND, 302 cash-saving RECOMMENDATIONS COMING TOMORROW
BREAKING NEWS…**Newstalk 1010′s GERRY AGAR this morning will discuss horse racing and its future in Ontario…listen on line at www.newstalk1010.com, between 9 -12
**The Twitter-world, Facebook world are alive with comments and worries…let the Ontario government know!! See link below
ONTARIO HORSE RACING INDUSTRY ROCKED BY POSSIBILITY OF ONTARIO ‘LEAVING HORSE RACING’ BUSINESS
If you were not living under a rock yesterday, you know that the rumblings from Ontario Finance Minister DWIGHT DUNCAN startled the horse racing community, all 60,000 of us in quarter horse, standardbred and thoroughbred racing. The feed mills, the blacksmiths, the mushroom growers for heaven’s sakes!
The Minister of Finance, speaking in advance of an economic report that will be released on Wednesday, said money allotted to the industries could be reviewed.
Late Monday, Woodbine Entertainment group offered up this email:
Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) is the engine of the Ontario horse racing industry – an industry which in 2010 was responsible for approximately 60,000 jobs and over $2 billion of expenditures annually.
WEG is very proud of its partnership with the Province of Ontario. WEG entered into a contract with the Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corporation (OLG) in 1999. WEG has invested significantly in providing the venue, the infrastructure and many of the support services for the OLG’s slots-at-racetracks operations at Woodbine and Mohawk.
The result has been a fantastic partnership which has generated significant revenue for the Province of Ontario. WEG is committed to working with the Province as it undertakes this review of job creation and economic growth.
President & CEO
Woodbine Entertainment Group
MEANWHILE…STANDARDBRED CANADA REPORT – including OHRIA’s response…
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, combined 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.”
The TORONTO SUN’S CHRISTINA BLIZZARD had this to say:
“While the horse-racing subsidy may sound like tax money to rich people, in fact, it helps many small farms around the province. But it was pre-slot machines. If the tracks can’t fund themselves from gambling, perhaps they should reconsider their future.”
So last night, Monday evening on NEWSTALK 1010 – the Friendly Fire show with John Downs and Ryan Doyle discussed the issue -
The latter, a racing fan, was certainly on the horse racing side. He mentioned farms, all the jobs associated with the business. The former agreed – why mess with a self sustaining industry? Although Downs wasn’t sure all day kindergarten should be picked on.
Horse racing industry members should take this seriously at this point. Get on the phone or compueter and make your opinion known to your local councillor or go right to DWIGHT DUNCAN’S contact page and send a note.
This is no time for industry members to complain amongst each other and not do anything. OHRIA is working for you, but work for yourselves too!
Tomorrow we will know more, there are surely hundreds of recommendations of ways to cut the debt in Ontario, let’s leave the important and beautiful horse racing industry alone.
FASTEST CANADIAN BREDS 2012 SO FAR, by Beyer Speed Figures
Black N Beauty AQU 06 Jan 1M 70Y 97
Well Positioned AQU 28 Jan 1 1/16M 96
Hollinger GP 11 Feb 1 1/8M 96
Hollinger GP 14 Jan 1 1/16M 95
Yummy With Butter GP 14 Jan 1 1/16M 95