OHRIA Encouraged by Major Policy Change to Horse Industry File

March 8, 2013

With less than a month remaining before the industry’s share of revenue from the Slots at Racetracks Program ends, OHRIA ‘s continuing efforts to engage the Premier and the government have resulted in a major policy change regarding the Horse Racing and Breeding Industry in Ontario.

In a press-conference earlier today, Premier Kathleen Wynne, speaking in her role of Minister of Agriculture and Food, announced that the Horse Racing and Breeding Industry will be integrated into the provincial gaming strategy to ensure future revenue streams for race tracks to continue to operate racing.

In a press release from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Minister Wynne stated, “We continue to work with other tracks while we work with the sector on a new market-driven model that works for the industry and is good public policy.”

Being integrated into the gaming strategy provides the industry with a chance to work with government to ensure a vibrant horse racing and breeding industry.

“There is still a long road ahead of us,” cautioned Sue Leslie, President of OHRIA, “However we now have the opportunity to plan a more sustainable future for the horse racing and breeding industry working in partnership with the government instead of competing against the Province’s other gaming products.”

Minister Wynne stressed that consultation with the horse racing and breeding industry, represented by OHRIA, continue with the government appointed Horse Racing Transition Panel.  “We need the process of integration to begin as soon as possible if we have any chance of future survival for the industry.” stressed Sue Leslie, stating that the OHRIA Board has conveyed the importance of action and not just words. “It is breeding season again and we must instill confidence for breeders and owners by proving that breeding and racing in Ontario is a secure investment.”

The OHRIA Board understands that the livelihoods of many in the industry will depend on the outcome of this latest development.  “We are all hurting from the actions of this government,” commented Ms Leslie, “The lives of thousands of hard-working individuals and families have been turned upside down.  With all that this industry has been through the past year, it is understandably difficult to trust that these latest developments are going to yield the desired results.  However we view this as an important and positive step and we must continue to work with our current government to achieve a more sustainable future for our industry.”