Updated on 02/16/2012 4:46PM

Woodbine: Report recommends Ontario slots subsidy to racing be eliminated

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario – The Drummond report, a study commissioned by Ontario’s ruling Liberal Party to address means of reducing the province’s budget deficit on Wednesday recommended ending horse racing’s share of the racetrack slots program.

Authored by Don Drummond, a former Toronto Dominion bank analyst, the recommendations are non-binding and will be studied for their potential inclusion in the Liberal’s budget this June.

Horse racing annually receives some $345 million from racetrack slots revenue.

The racetrack slots program, inaugurated in 1999, allocates 10 percent of net profit to the hosting racetracks and another 10 percent to the horsemen for the purse account. The province receives 75 percent of the proceeds and the hosting municipalities a minimum of 5 percent from the first 450 machines and 2 percent from each additional machine under the terms of contracts with the Ontario Lottery Gaming Corporation.

For the fiscal year that ended March 31, 2010, the Ontario Lottery Gaming Corporation’s gross revenue from approximately 2,000 machines at Woodbine was $598 million.

The Ontario Lottery Gaming Corporation retained $462.5 million to pay expenses with the remainder being remitted to the province. The horse industry revenue share amounted to almost $120 million and Toronto’s revenue share to $15.9 million.

At Fort Erie, the horse industry revenue share was $8.3 million and the municipal remittance was $1.2 million.

Sue Leslie, president of the Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association, which represents the province’s 17 racetracks, said in a press release that the government’s cut from Ontario’s horse racing revenue has increased by 27 percent over the last 10 years with Ontario receiving $261 million a year from the industry not including the Ontario Lottery and Gaming profits from slot machines.

R. Glenn Sikura, president of the Ontario division of the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society, has urged members to voice their opposition by contacting their members of provincial parliament or local politicians.

The Drummond report also recommended allowing slot machines at locations other than racetracks.