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Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Dominos Are Tumbling

First the Ontario provincial government informed the racing industry that the $345 million paid to horse racing purse accounts in the province will be ending as of March 13, 2013.  While only three tracks so far no their fate, there is sure to be more collateral damage; to what extent remains to be seen.

Then this week, we heard the New Brunswick provincial government is ending it subsidy support of the harness racing industry as of March 31, 2013 to the tune of $600,000 (that's a lot of money in New Brunswick racing terms).

Now we hear the Saskatchewan provincial government yesterday informed the harness horsemen there that they are out of luck, to be loosing $320,000 which covers the purses and operating expenses of sixteen out of the twenty dates racing is contested in the province.  Specifically, the horsemen there were informed: The horse racing grant has provided a subsidy for operations and purses at racetracks in the province for many years. However, in a time where the government is reviewing all its spending in relation to its core priorities, this support is not considered a priority.

Who knows if another domino will be falling in Canada?  I suspect we will find out shortly.

The point being, for those in the United States who still want to insist it can't happen to them, all it takes is one state to take back the subsidy, to tell the racing industry that "in relation to its core priorities, this support is not considered a priority" and there is a very good chance that it will set in motion a bunch of states saying, "Hey, why not?"

All it takes is one domino to fall....

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pacingguy,

Racing where there are slots has been better than the old pyramid scams.

Those who organized the pyramids profit only when they find enough customers to keep buying into the ruse.

Racing doesn't need customers (bettors) because it got used to the biggest whale of all--government--supplying the money.

Track owners and employees had secure employment, horse owners, trainers and jockeys/drivers were making more money than ever.

The problem is governments noticed millions were going to something that didn't benefit that many people. When slot money didn't bring the public back to tracks, whether for racing's lack of effort or simply failed results, the government/racing marriages hit the rocks. Some relationships could still survive, but they're probably in need of therapy sessions at the very least.

Anonymous said...

In our province here in the west (SK)between the thoroughbreds and standardbreds we generate $900,000 in taxes for the government in exchange for $1,500.000 in subsidies from our government I would say that is a good return on the money for our government. So in essence, we are getting $600,000 from the government which is half a drop in the ocean in comparison to the overall budget of $12 billion. I will use myself as an example, I am 240 miles from where my horses race. For most of the 24 weekends that they here in SK, I spend money on gas, meals, hotels and treats for the horses. Just see how many people are receiving my dollars. And don't forget the training bills and taxes and supplements. I think the government makes out quite well on their paltry, but important to us, contributions

Pacingguy said...

The sad thing is Government doesn't think this way. The amount the province subsidizes racing is not importnt. Yes, it is only $600,000 net but it gives the provincial government what they consider an easy mark to placate voters.

Anonymous said...

to me this means shit, first if you cant sign your name at the end of something you wright it means nothing, horse racing should be adle to make it on its own, but the goverment are the ones who let all this other gambling into there provinces not the horse people and that has taken alot from racing. all you ever here is the health care , teatchers, i am far from a polition , but every budget that comes down every year , its the same thing, so my question is do the goverment ever fix what they say, i dont think they do. look back in the early years late 70 early 80, racing was fine , no casinos, maybe casinos are the problem not horse racing, shawn worthen

Pacingguy said...

Shawn,

I think you are partially right. Racing was fine before they allowed the casinos in to the states.

Racing is hampered by the fact states regulate them. They can't go into different businesses (or games) because the states won't let them. However, racing also didn't react when the landscape changed. Some of it was due to regulation, some of it due to the fact we didn't have leaders who could think about changing the way we deliver our own product.

Casinos are regulated industries too, but the states give them a lot of leeway to innovate. It is true in most states, the government has made the decision to let casinos thrive while racing withers, choosing one industry over another.

I am not a lawyer, but I would like to know if the state governments can be held liable for anti-competitive actions by favoring casinos and strangling racing.