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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Election Doings; Casino Uncertainty

It's election day in Ontario and for the horse racing industry, it may be the day which decides the future of racing.  While PM Kathleen Wynne stopped the continuing disintegration of the racing industry, her political party is blamed for ending the SARP program as well as the so-called 'modernization' plan of the OLG.  Whether Wynne's intervention is sufficient to save the Ontario Liberal Party's minority government is questionable.  Opinion polls suggest another minority government will take the reins in the province.

As House Majority leader, Eric Cantor was supported by Sheldon Adelson who opposed online gaming.  With Cantor's defeat and his giving up the leadership post, there is a huge question mark as to whether or not House Rrepublicans will fall in line and support a ban on online gaming.  While a ban on Interstate gambling wouldn't directly impact horse racing, states currently involved in online gaming may be forced to seek other revenue sources to make up their budget shortfalls.  In the case of New Jersey, as state which is suffering from deficits, it may be what is needed for the state to pass pro-racing legislation.

Remember the 'new' Monticello Raceway to be developed?  First came the news that the 'raceway' was dropped from the plans of the new casino, reneging on a promise made to horsemen early in the process.  Now I would suggest don' t book your reservation yet.  There are quite a few casino applications in the Sullivan and Orange counties so when all is said and done, the possibility of Empire Resorts being on the outside looking in looms larger than originally thought.  If Empire Resorts doesn't earn a casino license, it is questionable as to whether the racino can remain profitable and if that turns out to be the case, the future of Monticello may be uncertain.

Of course, what seemed to be a slam dunk at Tioga Downs also is a little less certain as there are multiple applications for a casino in the Southern Tier.  Jeff Gural has already gone on record in saying should a casino license other than or in addition to Tioga Downs be granted in the Southern Tier, Tioga Downs is at risk.  Apparently, the feeling is the market is not big enough to support two gambling establishments in the area.

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