In any case the point of promoting these "new products" is that essentially, OMAFRA believes we can develop gambling options in concert with OLG for the benefit of both, which we have a tremendous precedent for. It's called Slots-At-Racing, and the program has provided over $10 billion to the public treasury of our province, while at the same time vaulting Ontario's Standardbred horse racing industry to a position of world dominance.
Additionally, the local communities that lose $75 million annually by ending Slots-At-Racing will also bear the brunt of increasing unemployment and declining tourist dollars.
I ask for a one or two year extension to SARP so that the Ontario deficit and unemployment situation will not worsen, and to provide time for me to prepare and present my plan. We will attempt to maintain our Standardbred industry at the top of the planet, while working to improve our Thoroughbred product for the international market, expanding both industries so that total employment by 2018 will be in the 75,000 to 80,000 range, up from the current 55,000 to 60,000. Supporting and promoting local tracks and rural communities also boosts Ontario tourism, while closing tracks decimates local restaurants and lodging facilities.
Within ten years my plan to build upon the Slots-At-Racing Program will see employment in the 85,000 range and horse race tracks annual contribution to the provincial treasury will exceed $3 billion annually, through a combination of pari-mutuel, slots, sports betting and new methods of playing horses directly from your corner store.
As part of my request for a two-year extension to Slots-At-Racing, I am proposing a single ticket that can be used to play Woodbine, Mohawk, Flamboro or Georgian Downs multi-race Pick 4 wagers, and this ticket will be purchasable and processable through regular OLG terminals. A portion of these revenues will be allocated to each racetrack and community that participates in SARP, as a way of continuing to grow the racing / OLG partnership with modern technology, and providing ongoing support to small-town Ontario and rural agricultural communities.