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Ontario horse racing industry is vital to rural communities across Province

In the 2015 Budget, under the title of "Enabling Long-Term Success for Ontario’s Horse Racing Industry," the Ontario Government outlined its plans for horse racing by first acknowledging that "The horse racing industry is vital to rural communities across Ontario and is an important part of Ontario’s rich heritage. The industry supports rural jobs and economic development in the agricultural sector, particularly as they relate to the horse breeding sector."
 
The Chapter on the horse racing industry continues:
 
Recognizing this, in June 2012, the government established a panel to determine how best to modernize the industry. After extensive and productive consultations with stakeholders and the public, the panel’s final report, released in October 2013, included a number of key recommendations.
 
Informed by the panel’s recommendations, the government created the Horse Racing Partnership Plan (HRPP) and raised the investment in this plan to $500 million over five years. The HRPP is the government’s plan to support a world-class horse racing industry in the province, and reflects the willingness of many in the industry to build a new partnership with government and work together to ensure long-term success.
 
As part of the HRPP, the government directed the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) to integrate horse racing into its gaming strategy, as permitted under existing statutory authorities. The industry has much to contribute to the Province’s gaming strategy — offering available facilities, an established customer base and the name recognition of internationally known horse races such as the annual Queen’s Plate.
 
The government is committed to strategically realigning Provincial horse racing regulation, adjudication and funding within government and agencies. Strengthening collaboration between industry and government is important to the industry’s long-term sustainability, recognizing its role in both rural and urban Ontario.
 
In 2015–16, the government will propose legislative changes to a number of statutes. If passed, these changes would integrate support for provincial horse racing within OLG’s mandate and transfer the Province’s regulatory responsibilities for horse racing to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. This could involve development of a new statute and potential changes to the following:
 
  • Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation Act, 1999;
  • Alcohol and Gaming Regulation and Public Protection Act, 1996;
  • Licence Appeal Tribunal Act, 1999;
  • Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Act; and
  • Racing Commission Act, 2000.
The government will also be looking to the industry for leadership and continued collaboration. The industry may, in future, manage industry programs while championing the interests of all its members and customers, and providing non-binding advice to the Province and its agencies.
 
The government is working aggressively on these changes as part of the framework to support the long-term success of the horse racing industry.
 
(Source: 2015 Ontario Budget, Ministry of Finance)
 
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