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MPPs speak out about horse racing industry inaction

Two Wellington area MPPs are expressing concern that time is running out for the horse-racing industry, and they want the government to act on a report by the Horse Racing Industry Transition Panel.
“For months, the government has left the horse racing industry hanging, with no idea of what the future holds,” said Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece, in a news release. “They need some certainty so that they can begin planning for the future.”
The transition panel was set up following industry protests of the Ontario government’s decision to end the Slots at Racetracks Program, an agreement that sees racetracks and racing industry people get a share of the revenue from slot machines. The panel’s final report was released on Oct. 30.
“The government needs to come forward and clearly outline what action it will take on this report,” said Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott, in the release. “Further delays may kill horse racing in Ontario.”
While the report did not recommend the reinstatement of the slots funding arrangement, it noted that it “could not find a single example of a viable horse racing industry without some form of public support,” the release said.
Arnott and Pettapiece believe that the report may be too little too late, it said.
“These reforms can’t be implemented overnight and we’re quickly running out of time,” said Arnott.
“If the government wanted to change the industry, they should have consulted and worked with the industry in the first place. Instead, they just cut the legs out from under it,” said Pettapiece.
The Progressive Conservative MPPs are not optimistic that the horse-racing industry is high on the radar of the government, which has prorogued the legislature to begin a leadership race, the release said.
“We need a Liberal leadership candidate to step forward and commit to saving the industry by stating what recommendations they would implement, said Arnott.
“The industry is running out of time,” said Pettapiece. “Its very survival is at stake and we need to know if the government has any intention of acting on this report or if it’s just going to gather dust.”

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