At least ten Ontario Racetracks have been given permission to keep their slot machines, giving Ontario horse racing administrators some hope that horse racing can survive in the region.

The move is expected to allow small-town racetracks to stay open for longer than expected and save the jobs of over hundreds of employees.

The Hanover Raceway will now be able to retain over 150 jobs which local councilor Mike Dunlap says is a massive boost for their local economy.

“Rural Ontario is under the gun, so the more jobs we can keep local, retain and build upon, better for us, better for the entire area,” Dunlap said.

However, racetracks all over Ontario aren’t out of the woods yet with the cut that each track will receive from slot machines profits far less than what they were once given under the government slots at racetracks program.

Hanover Raceway General Manager Gord Dougan said the new deal will be nowhere near as profitable as the previous arrangement.

“It’s nowhere near what we used to have with the revenue sharing agreement where we had ten per cent to operate the building and ten per cent to run the races,” Dougan said.

“That deal is now off the table now.”

Dougan is unsure how many races will be run at his track and said that it depends on a number of different factors especially the recommendations made by the Horse Racing Industry Transitional Panel

“It depends how many racetracks are going,” Dougan said.

“We’ve already heard that Fort Erie, Windsor and Sarnia have shut down and I don’t think there’s any intention of slots staying at those locations; however The Panel may decide that racing is need at those sites and they may decide it’s not needed at those sites.”

It is obvious that the only chance Horse Racing has of surviving in Ontario is through slot machines – a reality that is becoming prominent throughout the United States and Canada.

Source: CTV News