Message from Minister Wynne:

May 01, 2013

Mr. John Snobelen
Mr. John Wilkinson
Mr. Elmer Buchanan
Horse Racing Transition Panel
Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
1 Stone Road West
Guelph, Ontario
N1G 4Y2

Dear John, Elmer & John:

Thank you for your efforts to date. Your final report, now reflecting your recommended transitional funding to the industry, has provided a way forward for the government and horse racing in the province. The Sustainable Horse Racing Model you proposed provided a policy framework that reconciles the public good with the good of the industry and has led to our current year of transition.

That said, as Minister, I am keenly aware that for the industry to be sustainable we must move beyond your proposed model to a concrete plan, which would assist the industry in assuming responsibility for its future.

I ask that you provide me with a draft of this plan by June 1st which will be made public prior to your consultations with industry and government ministries. A final report is due by October 1st to allow for implementation on April 1, 2014.

The plan must incorporate the four over-arching principles you set out previously, namely:

  • Accountability,
  • Transparency,
  • Renewed focus on the consumer, and
  • Positive return to the taxpayers of Ontario.

The areas that the plan must address include, but are not limited to:

  • Industry governance,
  • Purse funding and pooling,
  • Regulatory requirements, cost and efficiency,
  • Marketing to attract substantially more race fans,
  • Enhancing domestic and foreign wagering on Ontario racing,
  • Increasing the market for Ontario bred horses,
  • Home market areas,
  • Industry structures, and
  • Equine welfare.

The purpose is to align the economic interests of all industry participants toward the common goal of maximizing the fan base and wagering.

As you previously reported, there can be no long term sustainable industry without a stable source of income beyond the customer. Your previous analysis made a compelling case that a return to the previous Slots At Racetrack Program is not in the public interest. Therefore, this is not on the table.

Following on your recommendation I would ask that the Panel take a lead role in facilitating a new integrated relationship between the horse racing industry and the OLG. The Ministry of Finance will work closely with you to achieve this necessary objective.

For greater clarity, I expect the plan to quantify the amount of government investment required into the future for the horse racing industry and provide your opinion as to the best way to achieve this goal via policy integration.

Thank you for your collaborative efforts to date and I look forward to seeing the results of your work over the next few months.

Sincerely,

Kathleen Wynne
Minister of Agriculture and Food

 


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