Panel: Ontario horseracing needs overhaul

Oct. 30, 2012 at 4:28 PM
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TORONTO, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- Ontario's horseracing industry can survive without revenue from slot machines, but will need to reinvent itself, a panel reported Tuesday in Toronto.

The three-person panel said some provincial taxpayer support for racing should remain although more revenue from betting should flow into supporting race purses, the Toronto Sun said.

Since 1998, slot machines operated by with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. have provided millions of dollars of revenue to the tracks. Last year, the government said it was ending that practice and would use the funds for general revenue.

The racing industry has issued dire warnings of track closures and the possibility of euthanizing at least 13,000 racehorses without the revenue from slot machines.

The panel didn't reveal its financial recommendations, but said the government would when the review was completed.

The panel's report came a day after the Fort Erie track at the border with Buffalo, N.Y., ran its last races of its 115th season Monday, a day short because of concerns of Hurricane Sandy's potential damages.

Unless a deal is struck by investors, the track that directly and indirectly employs about 1,000 people will close permanently Dec. 31.

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