Article published on 6 March 2014

Ontario Horse Racing Funding Model Update

Horse Racing Funding Includes Animal Welfare Programmes
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While the government had already released a five year plan, the Horse Racing Partnership Plan, in October 2013, the special government funding plan for the next five years has finally been confirmed, and more details have been released. The Ontario Horse Racing Funding Model deals with the $80 million that Ontario Horse Racing will be funded with under the special Horse Racing Partnership Funding Programme.

Government Commitments to the Horse Racing Industry

The Ontario provincial government has committed itself to various forms of assistance to the horse racing industry. This assistance includes helping to develop a new governance structure for the horse racing industry, and integrating the Ontario horse racing industry with the modernization plan for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. What might be one of the most noted points in the Horse Racing Partnership Funding Programme is the $80 million a year that will be provided to the industry, up to a total amount of $400 million over the next five years. This funding has been put in place in order to ensure that a number of racing opportunities will be sustained in the province.

Most of the $80 million that the industry will receive each year has been earmarked for industry development programmes, which will include marketing and other items. The funds are also to support live racing at the main racetracks, along with responsible gaming resources and animal welfare. Much of the funding will be used to purse accounts at racetracks in Ontario.

Other Costs Included in the Five Year Plan

The Ontario Racing Commission's regulatory costs, or "wagering levies" will be funded through the PMTR, as they have been in the past. However, the Ontario Racing Commission, as part of the agreement, has also agreed to reduce the licensing fees that are levied on racetracks and also on individuals.

The pari-mutuel commissions will be split between the racetracks and the horse people's purse as it has been done in the past, and will not continue on the same model that was followed in 2013, when all the commissions went to the purse accounts. The reason for sharing the pari-mutuel commissions is because it keeps the industry focused on the customer, as it ties the revenue received by the horse people to the market itself. This gives the industry a push to market horseracing well and both sides will profit more.

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