Today, the Ontario PC Party is unveiling a strong and bold turnaround plan for Ontario’s embattled horse-racing industry, recognizing that a robust horse-racing business is a vital component of the province’s rural economy.

“A thriving horse-racing industry is not just something to be toyed with. It needs to have a plan,” says PC Leader Tim Hudak. “The industry employs 60,000 men and women in work they love, and helps sustain small towns and rural communities across the province.”

“It’s too important to lose because of a bad political decision.”

The Liberal decision to pull the plug on the successful slots at the racetracks program devastated the horse-racing industry, and put tens of thousands of jobs at risk.

The Liberals’ plan, made without any plot to transition the industry to sustainability, was dropped on the industry without warning in order to build 29 casinos across Ontario.

“What the Liberals have done has left those in the horse-racing industry having to go begging for grants every year,” adds Randy Pettapiece, Hudak’s Rural Affairs and Horse Racing Critic. “It creates nothing more than another (government) horse bureaucracy that can only lead to fewer jobs and fewer spinoff benefits for broader rural communities.”

In fact, it will inevitably lead to the closure of tracks.

The Ontario PCs’ five-point plan will strengthen public-private partnerships with the job-creating racing industry, not tear them apart.

The core elements include re-establishing, but fixing, a slot at racetracks program that will be transparent, accountable and affordable to the taxpayer.

It will look to best practices in U.S. jurisdictions like New York and Pennsylvania as models.

Randy Pettapiece (Perth-Wellington) will be touring the province on behalf of the Ontario PCs to discuss ways to implement the plan to ensure jobs.

“This is the plan the horse-racing industry has been waiting for,” says Hudak. “We’ve done our homework and we have come up with a plan that will keep thousands employed in a sport that’s in their blood.

“The job now is to get it done.”

Ontario PC Placing for Horse Racing Jobs

  • All Ontarians want a better, stronger Ontario – with more jobs and opportunity than we have now. We can achieve that if we make the right choices today, starting with a credible plan for Ontario’s economy.
  • A robust horse racing industry is an essential component of Ontario’s rural economy. It employs 60,000 men and women, giving them work they love, and helps to sustain towns and rural communities across the province.
  • The Liberal government pulled the plug on a successful slots at racetracks program in favour of building 29 new casinos across the province. This ill-considered decision was made without any plan to transition the industry to sustainability. It devastated the horse racing industry, putting tens of thousands of jobs at risk.
  • The Liberal government’s new approach – as recommended by its Horse Racing Transition Panel – amounts to nothing more than a new government horse bureaucracy, where the industry will be left begging cap-in-hand for grants every year.
  • This will mean more government jobs, fewer jobs in the horse racing industry, and fewer spinoff benefits in broader rural communities. It will lead to the inevitable decline of the sector and the closure of racetracks.

The Ontario PC plan

The Ontario PCs have put forward a plan to strengthen partnerships with the job creating horse racing industry, not tear them apart. It’s what rural Ontario, the horse racing industry and thousands of dedicated workers deserve. The core elements are:

1. Put an immediate and permanent end to the Liberals’ so-called “modernization plan” that would close down racetrack slots in favour of building 29 new casinos in locations yet to be determined.

2. Re-establish, but fix, a slots at racetracks program that will be transparent, accountable and affordable to the taxpayer. Look to best practices in U.S. jurisdictions like New York and Pennsylvania as models.

3. Form public-private partnerships with businesses that know how to run slots and other games to increase the overall revenue that can be shared with the horse racing industry and taxpayers.

4. Build off of what is already working and successful. New gaming operations – like table games and sports betting – should go to racetracks, as opposed to building 29 new casinos.

5. Enforce strong accountability and transparency mechanisms around how the revenue is used, as recommended in the 2008 Sadinsky report.

For more information or to provide your feedback, please contact Ontario PC Critic Randy Pettapiece, MPP at | (416) 325-3400