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Monday, April 2, 2012

Slots At Racing can provide Ontario with $2 billion plus per year!

Being an extremely successful program already, with over $1.1 billion contributed annually to Ontario coffers, how can we get this program up to the $2 billion plus level?

Step One - Direct Action. For some reason the Ontario Liberals are determined to follow their federal counterparts to 3rd party status, with costly, boneheaded decisions based on faulty perceptions. We may have to do slow 5kmh truck crawls around Windsor Casino, Niagara Falls Casino and Queen's Park, but if that's what it takes to get a 6-month extension for Fort Erie, Windsor and Sarnia, then let's get 'er done.

Obtaining a stay of execution is the first step, to be followed by a barrage of relentless logic.

Step Two - Expand. Just as the Georgian Downs slots expansion benefited the government and the track, renovations and expansion can be carried out on all the oldest and busiest of Ontario's Slots At Racetracks sites. As sports books are about to be legalized in Canada, major racetracks such as Mohawk, Woodbine, Fort Erie and Windsor are ideal locations and will prove to be lucrative choices. Flamboro Downs, Georgian Downs and other racetracks would also be suitable sportsbook venues.

It may take five years for the Slots At Raceways program to surpass $2 billion per year, but that still represents $2 billion per year that we do not have to pay in taxes, and much of it will come from Americans and other tourists.

In summary, the Liberals appear willing to kill off a $2 billion public cash cow, and it is up to the horse racing industry to save this program, as I haven't even begun to itemize and illustrate the damage that would be caused to horses and horse people. The ill-advised closing of the Slots At Racetracks program would eliminate about 2,000 jobs directly but would have much wider implications for small town and rural Ontario, including the loss of 20,000 horse-related jobs and our world-leading position in the breeding and racing of Standardbred horses.

Joseph Trainor
April 2, 2012

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