Extension of Ontario Slots Program Discussed

The 20% cut the racing industry gets from gaming is set to end March 31.

The Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association said March 19 it is "working closely" with Ontario lawmakers to extend the slots-at-racetracks program in the province.

The Liberal Party government in early 2012 announced the end of the longtime partnership between the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. and the state's racetracks effective March 31 of this year. Several racetracks already have closed, while others have worked out far less lucrative lease arrangements with the OLG to keep slot machines.

Under the slots-at-racetracks program, the horse racing industry has received 20% of slots revenue. It has been split 50-50 between racetracks and horsemen.

The OHRIA said the Progressive Conservative Party and the New Democratic Party "are again working together in the legislature to support Ontario's racing and breeding industry." The group said lawmakers plan to address a motion by Taras Natyshak, a New Democratic Party member of the provincial Parliament, to extend the slots-at-racetracks program deadline.

A debate and vote on the motion could occur before March 31, the OHRIA said.