View Full Version : Canadian Racinos were a bad idea

05-29-2008, 07:11 PM
From Equidaily:

Future of horse racing in Ontario at stake
Posted By John Snobelen…I was in cabinet during the inevitable lobbying for gaming and I heard all the half-baked schemes to promote gaming that floated through the halls at Queen's Park. According to the promoters, any kind of gaming couldn t miss and the only question was how fast could casinos be built and opened so the river of gaming revenues could flow.

Government then, as now, needed revenue. Gaming revenue is very attractive. Voluntary taxes, what an idea.

Fortunately Harris resisted the most ambitious and harebrained schemes to expand gaming. His government approved the Niagara casino only after a successful referendum in the community. He chose to expand slots in race tracks instead of setting up new gambling facilities.

A deal was struck with those directly involved with the operation of racetracks. The tracks would keep 10% of the slot revenues, the horsemen would keep 10% in the form of purses and the host communities would get 5%. Money for nothing, pennies from heaven.

Whether you like it or not, gaming is the business of greed and greed knows no bounds. The hucksters say expand and expand again and the betters will just keep coming. Looks like maybe they are wrong. OLG has had any number of problems keeping the people who sell lottery tickets from magically becoming the people who win lotteries. Go figure.

… What was intended to be a gift to the horse racing industry has turned out to be a curse. With a decline in traditional revenues the industry is as dependant on slot revenue as the government is on gaming revenue. And they say gaming isn't addictive. …Maybe Silver deserves some credit for opposing slots at Belmont.

http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/features/viewpoints/story.html?id=f83809a6-2ece-4aad-a63a-55bb91fb291a (http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/features/viewpoints/story.html?id=f83809a6-2ece-4aad-a63a-55bb91fb291a)
It's time Quebec gave up trying to save horse racing
The Gazette May 28, 2008… transforming the province's racetracks into mini-casinos with 1,900 video machines and letting the firm managing them keep a 22-per-cent cut of the take - has predictably enough, ended in the red. Attractions hippiques, which manages the tracks in Montreal, Quebec City, Trois Rivičres and Aylmer, lost $18 million last year according to the Quebec City newspaper Le Soleil, and expects to lose money again this year.

… Harness racing - the equine world's equivalent of stock-car racing - is dying, in spite of the provincial government's almost frantic efforts to save it. The shift to urban life and the legalization of casinos and lotteries have left it with a miniscule following. The "industry" still employs 4,000 people, but that's hardly enough to warrant so much government attention.

In fact, at one point. Quebec bought the tracks to keep them afloat. When it sold them off just last year to Attractions hippiques, a company that belongs to Senator Paul Massicotte, the deal was supposed to solve the problem once and for all.

Well, it didn't.

Despite all those gambling machines and the new money they brought in, attendance continued to fall and profits failed to materialize. Any day now, we expect to see Attractions hippiques to turn up in Quebec City, cap in hand, looking for a sweeter deal. The answer should be a swift, sharp "No." Enough is enough.NO surprise that-- promises to the contrary -- Paterson, Silver, and Bruno don’t appear likely to save the 1500 OTB jobs.