Updated on 06/18/2013 11:40AM

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.