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Friday, March 15, 2013

Las Vegas lobbyists close down Ontario Place and historic racetracks

Lakeside park in Toronto, Fort Erie, Windsor all casualties

The recent news of the end of horse racing at Peterborough's Kawartha Downs must have been met with toasts and cheers in Vegas, for their strategy appears to be unfolding much faster than they anticipated. Realizing that an existing ultra-equitable (for all parties) deal with Ontario's horsepeople was the major obstacle in the way of Las Vegas based mega-casinos taking over gaming in Ontario, their partners at OLG have now managed to shut down Ontario Place, a major family park on the shores of Lake Ontario and have their sights set on also taking over the Canadian National Exhbition (CNE) grounds. They have closed four racetracks already this year (Fort Erie, Windsor, Sarnia (Hiawatha) and Peterborough (Kawartha Downs), with more closures to be announced in coming weeks, and more racetracks to be phased out over the next three years.

Fort Erie racetrack in Fort Erie, Ontario

The Las Vegas lobbyists have requested that the number of racing ovals in Ontario be reduced to 6 from the current 17, as a way to limit their competition. The Slots-At-Racetracks partnership has returned over $14 billion to Ontario's treasury and offers 75% of profit to the provincial government. Larry Tanenbaum's Boardwalk chain of "bingo" (covert slots) parlours is offering 25% (Boardwalk gets 47% versus entire horse industry currently getting 10%), while the Vegas boys will likely offer 10-15% after all their accounting tricks.

New NDP government last best hope for Ontario

If you are fine with selling out our provincial heritage to the highest private bidder, please work to have the Liberals re-elected, or support the Cons povertization strategy.

Ontario Place attendance was up 90% the year before it was closed down because of "declining attendance." The children's water park and play area has had a $13 million renovation, including a huge new $1 million slide that not a single child has ever ridden down. If you believe public parkland should be sold to highest bidder as land for more condos and American casinos, vote Liberal or Conservative in the next Ontario election.

If you believe in Ontario's people and history and are willing to declare support for rural and smalltown communities in our province, please speak with your local NDP reps to help create a plan to re-open Ontario Place, Fort Erie, Windsor, Hiawatha and Kawartha Downs, and allow Canadians to return to their jobs and continue to pay their taxes and contribute to our overall well-being.

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