Updated on 06/18/2013 12:40PM

Woodbine Entertainment Group to get $38M from province


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The Woodbine Entertainment Group will receive $38 million in transitional funding from the province of Ontario for the 2013-14 fiscal year, according to previously confidential figures released Monday by the government.

The transitional funding was intended to ease the impact of the loss of revenue from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s slots-at-racetracks program, which expired March 31.

Under the slots program, Woodbine received 10 percent of the net revenue for operations and capital improvements. The track’s horsemen received as much as 10 percent of the revenue for purses.

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s latest annual report, covering April 1, 2010, to March 31, 2011, shows that Woodbine and its horsemen each received $58.8 million and Mohawk and its horsemen each received $15.4 million.

Racetracks still hosting slots operations – including Woodbine and Mohawk – now lease their areas to the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation under confidential terms.

In addition to its current 133-day Thoroughbred meeting, Woodbine Entertainment is hosting an 84-day Standardbred meeting at its Mohawk Raceway and has 44 Standardbred dates scheduled at Woodbine from Oct. 17 through Dec. 31.

Next year’s dates have not been announced.

Fort Erie, which was granted a 50-day meeting this year, received $5.5 million in transitional funding.

For 2010-11, the racetrack received $5.3 million and its horsemen got $3 million under their slots-at-racetracks siteholder agreement. The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation removed its slot machines from Fort Erie on April 30, 2012, and the racetrack had been on its last legs when the transitional funding was announced this spring.

The idea of transitional funding was born last year when the Ontario government commissioned a three-member panel, comprising three former cabinet ministers, to suggest solutions for a sustainable horse racing industry in Ontario following the conclusion of the slots program.

The Horse Racing Industry Transition Panel is scheduled to start a new round of talks with industry stakeholders on Friday, with the object being to integrate horse racing into the province’s overall gaming strategy.

Joanne Ladouceur-Cummings More than 1 year ago
First of all, this is not "funding" , this was compensation for the cancellation of OLGs agreement with Racetrack operators that had made capital improvement investments based on the expectation that their contracts wouldn't have been broken by McGreedy et al. Not a dime of this goes into purses.
Joanne Ladouceur-Cummings More than 1 year ago
I quote Mr. Bitonti : "an anticipated consequence of OLG’s modernization strategy" http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/olg-ponies-up-81-million-for-horse-racing-tracks/article12304577/?service=mobile
RightWinger More than 1 year ago
Why are WE (the taxpayers) funding the racetrack? I have been going there for over 40 years and never got a single penny, hell they used to charge $6 to park, $6 admission AND had the gall to charge me $1.50 for a betting form that was wrong 98% of the time.
philcoforde More than 1 year ago
Funny thing...before Quitter McGuinty, Paul Godfrey'LOADER and Dwight Duncan came along...horse racing didn't cost taxpayers A DIME. Now it does and for the last 15 years...you haven't had to pay a DIME FOR PARKING OR ADMISSION either. Maybe, you can spend the savings and learn how to read a form ya WHINER.
CHris SChott More than 1 year ago
I believe it was actually mike Harris who instituted the 10% track allowance....a pay off for the breaking up of the legal gambling market horse racing enjoyed up until that point. Not terrible uncommon in North America......not smart but not uncommon.
CHris SChott More than 1 year ago
Propping up horse racing purses with slots revenue is a bad idea 100% of the time. People invest in state bred horses based on the basis of artificially high purses and then lose equity when the purses inevitable declines and cry foul. Woodbine is a great facility and should stand on its own. Fort Erie....is on borrowed time is also a lovely facility...too bad but people just don't play horses and this is not a problem a provincial government can solve. What the article doesn't say is that the current ontario government is itself of borrowed time and this is a vote buying exercise aimed at garnering rural support.
Senor Enrico More than 1 year ago
It's only a matter of time before the US racinos start doing the same thing. There is no reason why horse owners should reap the profits from casino money. There are thousands of better ways to use the money. Track purses should strictly be a function of handle.
philcoforde More than 1 year ago
Casino profits go up exponentially when accompanied by live racing #FACT
Tekov Yahoser More than 1 year ago
Then the free market will do it willingly with no need for a State/Provincial mandate.
Jay More than 1 year ago
You couldn't be more wrong!!! Most tracks on most days lose money ......their handle doesn't justify the purse money given out. Without slots revenue a lot of united states tracks would go under.....the casinos don't need live racing the racing needs the casinos!!!!..look at the meadowlands once the premiere venue for purses.....the other night they had 7 races under 10,000!! look at rosecroft and whats left of it....look at any California track they are all close to extinction.. why??? no slots revenue......the racing industry got greedy now its self imploding...take away slots and you take away racing...simple as that!!!!
philcoforde More than 1 year ago
That's funny..guess that's why all the Canadian casinos that don't have racing are going TITS UP...
Jay More than 1 year ago
look at the agreement the Canadian govt had with the tracks and their slots and look at the pct the govt took its a joke..thats why the govt is subsidizing the tracks now...no way fort erie could survive without slots revenue or the govt aid...and woodbine and Mohawk will die a slow death if they need to rely on purse money......horse racing cant and wont live on its own merits any more
Senor Enrico More than 1 year ago
You are joking.