An Ontario PC Government will immediately begin work to bring back the Slots at Racetracks Program

Published on June 04, 2018
Today, Simcoe-Grey PC Candidate Jim Wilson announced that an Ontario PC government will immediately begin work to bring back the Slots-at-Racetracks Program (SARP). 
 
“When we brought in the Slots at Racetracks Program it was considered a win-win,” said Wilson. “It solved the government’s problem at the time of where do we put legal gambling without having to open up new sites. The program was working for everyone." 
"Without warning Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals killed this program, destroying the industry, and Andrea Horwath and the NDP sat on their hands allowing it to happen," Wilson continued. "An Ontario PC government will work to bring the program back, and help horse racing thrive and grow.”
 
In 2012, the minority Liberal Government rammed their budget through the Legislature - which included slashing SARP. Rather than voting against the budget and stopping the gutting of the horse racing industry, the NDP abstained and propped up the government.
 
"While the Ontario PCs stood up for the horse racing industry and voted against this cut, Andrea Horwath and the NDP chose to prop the Liberals up. They could have stopped this," said Wilson.
 
The government is currently under a civil lawsuit regarding their changes to the horse racing industry. Court documents reveal the government anticipated the changes would lead to “23,000 job losses and 27,000 dead horses,” and that part of the rationale behind the decision was to wedge the PCs and NDP in a by-election.
 
The Ontario PCs will launch a working group to consult with the horse racing community and gaming proponents to bring slots back to racetracks as quickly possible.
 
“Only the Ontario PCs are committed to bringing this important program back. The NDP are waffling and refusing to commit,” concluded Wilson.
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 HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE COURT DOCUMENTS: 
  • “We met with Mckinsey, hired by finance. They confirmed under their wildly optimistic best case scenario (ie no collapse of the industry), we are look at 13,000 job losses and 16,000 euthanized horses between sep 4 and dec 31. Collapse (which we think is what will actually happen) is 23,000 job losses and 27,000 dead horses. The lawsuits coming our way will add up to $500 million and you will be lucky to settle for $250 million.” [sic]  – John Wilkinson, former Liberal Cabinet Minister
 
“The only thing that keeps me going is the thought that I might still be here when the entire Slots at Racetracks program is either slashed brutally, or purse pooling and yearly ‘grants’ based on yearly applications gets rid of the notion that horsemen have of slot money being ‘their’ money.” – Policy Advisor, Gaming Policy Branch, Ministry of Finance