Friday, November 9, 2012
Open Letter to Sandra Pupatello; Ontario Liberal leadership
This past March, a decision was made in your absence that has the effect of burdening Ontario taxpayers with a much lager deficit, while at the same time halving an industry and putting 30,000 jobs at risk.
The OLG decision to close profitable slots in Fort Erie, Windsor and Hiawatha racetracks was an attempt to cover up casino losses in Niagara Falls, Windsor and Sarnia, so those 3 locations can also have slots re-instated to increase Ontario government revenues.
The decision to end the entire Slots-At-Racing partnership in March 2013 takes Ontario away from a highly workable and fully equitable province-wide business agreement and positions the province to allow Las vegas mega-corporations to come in and take the lion's share of casino, slots and sports book betting revenues. The WORST thing would be to destroy rural and smalltown Ontario so that OLG can partner with a Vegas giant to create downtown casinos that nobody wants. OLG is NOT successful in the casino business, whereas the SAR partnership is their most profitable enterprise and is also the second biggest contributor to Ontario's coffers, right after the LCBO. The racetracks are the IDEAL locations to launch sports book operations, without the involvement of foreign partners.
An extension to the current partnership is the best solution, and sports book betting profits should be split along similar lines as slot revenues, with 75% going to province and 5% to local community (plus 10% for ractetrack operator and 10% for horse racing purses). Sandra, if you run on a platform that includes a two-year extension to Slots-At-Racing (including a return of slots to Windsor, Fort Erie and Sarnia), you will then have:
- 2.2 billion dollars more (over two years) to spend on healthcare and schools and keeping taxes low (OLG has no plans or ability to replace this revenue if SAR ends in March)
- about 10,000 new volunteers province-wide, many of whom live in electoral ridings traditionally held by Conservatives, and these horse people will work tirelessly for both your leadership campaign and the coming election
In addition to having extensive support across the province, if you run in Tecumseh-Windsor and support a two-year extension to SAR and re-instatement of slots at Windsor Raceway, you will have an incredibly strong and diverse local team to build upon.
You are our best hope for returning fiscal sanity to Ontario planning. When you support horse racing, SAR and budgetary sanity, you will receive tremendous province-wide support, and have a significantly smaller provincial deficit to work with.
Joseph Trainor, Publisher
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