The 2016 Ontario Budget released on Thursday (February 25) by Finance Minister Charles Souza would give the province’s horse racing industry two more years of government partnership and support.
Titled “Jobs for Today and Tomorrow”, the budget (available in full here) states that the provincial transfer payment program (formerly known as the Horse Racing Partnership Funding Program) would be continued past the original March 2019 date to March 2021 in order to “give confidence to the industry to make investments and business decisions for the coming years” as well as “contribute to the continued support of rural jobs and economic development in the agricultural sector, particularly as they relate to the horse breeding sector.”
The full section pertaining to horse racing from the 2016 Ontario Budget is available below.
Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation Modernization
Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) modernization is designed to maintain and grow the gaming industry in a socially responsible manner. Ontario’s gaming industry employs thousands of Ontarians and contributes to local economic development across the province. Modernizing the OLG will enhance the funding available to pay for important public services such as health care and education by broadening the role of the private sector in OLG day-to-day lottery and gaming site operations and encouraging capital investments and job creation.
The OLG recently hired a private operator to run two gaming sites in eastern Ontario and develop a new gaming site in Belleville. It is estimated that this new site will create more than 300 jobs in the Belleville community. For 2016, additional large-scale procurements are underway for the Greater Toronto Area, northern and southwestern Ontario gaming sites, as well as for OLG’s lottery business.
Technological advances continue to drive changes in OLG customer preferences and product offerings, which in turn will drive government policy considerations in the near future related to provincial delivery of charitable bingo games and new commercial gaming products.
The OLG Internet offering, PlayOLG.ca, recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of its launch. However, there continues to be ongoing grey-market competition. Ontario will continue to work and consult with other provinces and the federal government in 2016 to determine how best to meet market demand and encourage responsible gambling.
The OLG also continues to integrate horse racing into its gaming strategy. In fiscal 2016–17, OLG will begin to fund the horse racing industry through a provincial transfer payment program, formerly the Horse Racing Partnership Funding Program, while continuing to provide marketing and responsible gambling support to the industry.
The program will now be extended for two additional years, beyond March 2019, to March 2021. This extension will give confidence to the industry to make investments and business decisions for the coming years. It will also contribute to the continued support of rural jobs and economic development in the agricultural sector, particularly as they relate to the horse breeding sector.
Beyond this time, the intention would be for OLG to establish a future, longer-term funding arrangement with the industry. The arrangement would be subject to government approvals, and further integrate gaming with horse racing to support industry sustainability.