Over the past decade and a half Canadian horse racing has had a successful partnership with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. The partnership has been pouring money into racing and the racetracks have been housing OLG slot machines which allowed the government to collect billions of dollars.
However, the government has now decided to dismantle the program as they believe that there may be a better model for casino gaming in the province and that horse racing should not be benefiting from the slot machine money.
Now there is a mood of anger at many of the province’s horse racing tracks.
Those who make their living in the sport believe that the government has made a mess of things and destroyed a partnership that was ultimately win-win.
Last Saturday Woodbine track opened for the 2013 season. The Ontario government has formed a two-year deal with Woodbine that is aimed to keep the track open and operating smoothly. The government is giving the track money to cover its operating costs. This will allow Woodbine to maintain its 2012 purse levels and time to come up with a plan to survive without the aid of slots.
The horse racing industry will now be forced find innovative ways to raise money and ultimately survive.