The highly successful Slots at Racetracks Program ends in one week, and while OHRIA is pleased with deals for racing at three more Ontario race tracks, the industry association is still pushing for financial details from government on the promised long-term integration strategy.
In a press release on March 26, Premier Kathleen Wynne announced that a deal has been made between OMAFRA’s Transition Panel and Great Canadian Gaming, owners of Flamboro Downs and Georgian Downs race tracks, as well as with the Fort Erie Live Racing Consortium, who operates Fort Erie Race Track. The deals will allow all three tracks to host racing in 2013.
“While we are happy with the announcement that there will be racing at three more racetracks in 2013, OHRIA is continuing to stress the importance of details of the long-term integration strategy,” commented Sue Leslie, President of OHRIA. “Without knowing the financial returns long-term, breeders and owners will continue to resist investment if they cannot see a viable future for the industry.”
Earlier this month, Wynne, speaking in her role as Minister of Agriculture, announced in a press conference at Grand River Raceway that horse racing will be integrated into the province’s gaming strategy. This announcement did little to quell the fears of investors as financial details and timelines were not provided along with the announcement and have yet to be revealed.
“We need to know financial details for the long-term which is why we are asking Premier Wynne to extend the existing Slots at Racetracks Program until a strategy going forward can be formulated,” stressed Sue Leslie. “We understand the need for our industry to evolve and to provide good public policy for the government. However, our industry will not survive on short-term promises. We need the details of a commitment now.”