Casino Negotiations Could Threaten Ontario Horse Racing Industry – Casino.Org News

A series of negotiations over the location and nature of casinos in Southwestern Ontario could have the unintended side effect of harming or even killing the horse racing industry in the province.

The racing industry fears that negotiations over the Western Fair casino could leave the future of local horse racing in doubt. (Image: Postmedia Network)

According to a report in the London Free Press, many in the racing industry are concerned over the potential for a casino currently at the Western Fair District to move away from that fairground, which could lead to a sharp drop in revenue for horse racing.

The local industry has been struggling to stay above water for the past five years, ever since Ontario cut the amount of slots revenue that flowed into racing by more than half. But some fear that future changes could have even more drastic impacts.

New Operator Cares About Casinos, Not Racing

The concern stems from the fact that the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. (OLG) has recently licensed much of the region’s gaming industry to Gateway Casinos & Entertainment, a Vancouver-based company that is focused on casinos, not horses.

One of the casinos now operated by Gateway is located at the Western Fair District in London. The company has been demanding more favorable conditions for using the fairgrounds, which also hosts races with the second-largest purses in all of Ontario.

That could lead to two damaging scenarios. First, Gateway could negotiate a deal where they share even less of their revenue with the racetrack. Even worse, Gateway might decide to move the casino away from the fairgrounds entirely, which would likely mean the end of racing at Western Fair.

“Without the lease payments we cannot support live racing,” Western Fair District CEO Hugh Mitchell told

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