Ontario Horse Racing Industry Condemns Misleading Ads by Ontario Liberal Party

The Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association is deeply disappointed with the Ontario Liberal Party’s misleading portrayal of the OLG

The Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association is deeply disappointed with the Ontario Liberal Party’s misleading portrayal of the OLG Slots at Racetrack Program. The OLG Slots at Racetrack Program is not a ‘secret subsidy’ that benefits ‘a few wealthy racetrack owners’ as the Liberals falsely claim. It is actually the largest source of revenue for OLG; greater than the casinos, lottery tickets or bingo, according to the OLG and Ministry of Finance figures.
 
Each year approximately $1.7 billion dollars of revenue is generated by OLG slots that are placed at private racetracks around Ontario. Of that money, approximately $345 million flows to the horse racing industry, with municipalities receiving nearly $80 million dollars and the Government of Ontario walking away with $1.1 billion in net profit. Ending the OLG at Slots Program, ends the $1.1 billion dollars of profit.
 
“The Liberals need to understand the OLG Slots at Racetrack Program is a highly profitable venture for the Government of Ontario. By trying to remove the horse racing industry’s portion from the expense, the Liberals will end up removing the slots, and forgoing $1.1 billion dollars a year of revenue, adding to Ontario’s deficit.” Said Sue Leslie, President of the Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association.
 
Dwight Duncan’s 2011 budget spoke glowingly of OLG Slots at Racetrack Program’s contribution to Ontario’s finances.
 
According to Budget 2011, slot machines at racetracks were responsible, in part, for $1.5 billion dollars of hospital operating expenses, $120 million dollars for the Ontario Trillium Foundation, $41 million dollars for problem gambling and related programs,  $10 million for amateur sports, and $69 million dollars for general government priorities (pg 234 of Budget 2011).
 
The OLG Slots at Racetrack Program was credited in Budget 2011 with providing $345 million dollars of support for Ontario’s Agricultural sector and $76 million dollars for municipalities.
 
“The Finance Minister needs to ensure he has his facts straight before he pulls the plug on this highly profitable OLG program.” Said Sue Leslie. “Nothing is ‘secret’ about the OLG Slots at Racetrack program as the Ontario Liberals falsely claim in their attack ads,” Leslie added.
 
Ontario’s Horse Racing Industry is responsible for 31,441 full time jobs in Ontario, and up to 60,000 jobs when including part-time and seasonal work. Horse racing industry expenses in Ontario total approximately $2 billion dollars per year with 80% ($1.6 billion) of those expenses being incurred in rural Ontario.
 
“Attacking a major industry like ours with false claims is hurting, not helping Ontario’s economy,” said Leslie.
 
For More Information, contact Sue Leslie, President – OHRIA – ohria@ohria.com 416 679 0741
 
Text of Ontario Liberal Party Radio Ads
 
Radio Ad One:
 
“Did you know that Tim Hudak’s PCs started a secret subsidy for a few, very wealthy racetrack owners? And now in these times of restraint, Tim Hudak says these rich payouts should be protected. He’d cancel full day kindergarden, leaving 50,000 four and five year olds stranded. Are we really going to spend more on horse racing than full day kindergarden? The PCs should do what’s right. Tell Tim Hudak his priorities aren’t your priorities.”
 
Radio Ad Two:
 
“Did you know that Tim Hudak’s PCs started a secret subsidy for a few, very wealthy racetrack owners? And now in these times of restraint, Tim Hudak says these rich payouts should be protected. But when it comes to our seniors, he voted against new supports to help them stay in their homes longer. Are we really going to protect horse racing over our parents and grandparents? The PCs should do what’s right. Tell Tim Hudak his priorities aren’t your priorities.”