TORONTO, June 21, 2012 /CNW/ - Citing the complete devastation of the Quebec horse racing and breeding industry, members of the Ontario horse racing industry and the chair of the Quebec Jockey Club, warn the Ontario government that the future is bleak for Ontario's horse racing and breeding industry.
"The Government of Ontario should study the complete and utter devastation of the Quebec horse racing industry before they move forward with their ill-conceived plans to cancel the Slots at Racetrack Program", said Anna Meyers, President Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association. "Our colleagues in Quebec saw an 80% job loss since the horse racing industry was shut down in 2010. Comparatively speaking, for Ontario this would mean over 27,000 direct industry jobs lost".
In Quebec, horsepeople who were able to secure similar jobs in other jurisdictions removed valuable tax dollars and economic spinoff from the province. Many however, remain unemployed. In Ontario, the horse racing industry generates 60,000 jobs and provides the province with $261 million in direct taxes. With over $2 billion in annual expenditures the industry's combined contribution to the GDP is $4.5 billion.
All of this revenue is put at risk with the cancellation of the Slots at Racetrack Program.
The Quebec experience provides a gloomy future for Ontario's industry. The cancellation of the Slots at Racetrack Program is ending an extremely successful private/public partnership in the name of modernizing the OLG operations. The racetracks as the private partner have invested capital and provided their land, facilities, infrastructure and parking making this program the most profitable of the OLG's land based gaming venues. This program has added $14.4 billion to the provincial treasury since its inception in 1999.
"I urge decision makers to reconsider this flawed plan to end the Slots at Racetrack Program and find the right course for all Ontario citizens," said Tony Infilise, Chair of the Quebec Jockey Club. "It takes great leaders and courage to recognize that an error has been made, and for the good of Ontario, recognize that it needs to be changed. Looking at the facts and considerations in a non-partisan manner will lead to the right course of action."
The Quebec Jockey Club is a recently formed association of horsemen who are attempting to revive horse racing and breeding in Quebec.
For further information:
Anna Meyers, President
Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association