17 December 2009

Fort Erie Will Race For At Least Three More Years

Great news out of Fort Erie. The show will go on.

Here is how it will happen in a nutshell:

Nordic Gaming (the current owner of Fort Erie Racetrack) has agreed to lease out the track for $100,000 the first year, and $650,000 a year for the two subsequent years each.

Nordic Gaming is responsible for all severance packages and any incurred liabilities prior to January 1st, 2010.

The government of Ontario has stepped up to the plate, and will give the consortium $5.6 million per year for three years, in lieu of the 10% the track was receiving for their share of slots revenues (which has been around $4 million per year recently). The Town of Fort Erie is also adding $500,000 per year.

A new management team is to be implemented (approved by Nordic Gaming) as of July 1st, 2010.

EDIT: I must have heard something that wasn't said. All approvals will be made by the Consortia, not Nordic Gaming.

Quarter horse racing will be added. The extent of this has not been determined yet, but monies to fund these races will come from OHRIA's suplus. This is a potential new revenue source for Fort Erie, as they get to keep their share of monies bet on these races.

The plan right now is to run 8 thoroughbred races per day (and perhaps one or two quarter horse races), three days a week, for 78 days per year. This represents a drop of one race per day. The budget stands at around $100,000 a day in purse money, which means around $7.8 million will go to thoroughbred purses.

Essentially, the horsemen will get around $4 million from wagering and $4 million from their share of the slots (as long as slots revenues hold). This covers the purse structure.

The Consortia will have an extra $2,000,000 the first year to cover operating expenses (which means that they know that the losses that Nordic claim are really $2 million a year or less in actual operating expense losses). In year two and three, the Consortia has an extra $1,500,000 per year.

The bottom line, is there will be racing, and horsemen and fans need to thank people like Jim Thibert of the EDTC, Sue Leslie of the HBPA, Herb McGirr and Daryl Wells from Nordic, MPP Kim Craitor, and especially the Honourable Dwight Duncan, the Minister of Finance, who recognized the need to keep Fort Erie alive (he is the one who changed the deal on slots that made this happen), oh and cub reporter Perry Lefko, for keeping the story alive in Toronto.

Going forward, there are quite a few initiatives that can be done to increase betting at Fort Erie.
Lets see what happens.


MJ said...

Thank You - Quarter Horse racing too? Awesome

Anonymous said...

This is great news for Fort Erie!!
A special thank you to Dwight Duncan, and of course to everyone else involved.
Questions- Why would Nordic Gaming have to approve a new managment team? Is it licensing issues?? Where can I apply?
Lastly, listened to the Eaves interview,not a complete surprise-Woodbine for Woodbine,
However,to suggest that in 1997 they knew the future events of the 21st century is hilarious.
With Eaves's cavalier attiude toward Ontario racing we may very well be wishing for the return of David Wilmont!!
But, its always nice to know where (Fort Erie) stands in level of importance, at least to Eaves.

Cangamble said...

Anon, Nordic still owns the place. This is a leasing agreement. Nordic will most likely lean towards having much of the same people there at least in some capacity to avoid having to make heavy severance payments....though I'm not exactly sure how that works.

Anonymous said...

does that mean we can totally wipe the race office clean.get exterminators to wipe out all the rats!

Anonymous said...

A new management team approved by Nordic Gaming? The correct business procedure may be to procure a professional company that comes in and talks to all parties involved and employee's. Then takes this information and properly hires, fires and promotes a new management team. This new management must be trained and or experienced in the proper hiring procedures. Another asset is to mandate that this is a racing/casino and not just a casino. Management from the OLG, ORC, HBPA and the Track must work together to promote the business as a whole and not individually. When you want a business to prosper, you do not promote nepotism and cronyism. Fort Erie Racetrack needs a fresh start. Another one hundred and ten year monopoly must not start again on January 1, 2010.

Anonymous said...

The person in the Consortian has already has a racing manager/secertary hired for this job. His duties will be for the time being is to work with Tom Gostlin and Herb McGirr.

Anonymous said...

Instead of being so negative we should be positive and hope this works. You should be happy your brother has somewhere to run instead of being on welfare

Anonymous said...

Does some of the lease money go toward the purchase of the track?

Cangamble said...

The track is being leased, not sold. I imagine that if Nordic were to sell the joint within the next three years, the new management would have the option of staying or getting bought out.
Again, I'm only speculating here.

Anonymous said...

yep great news all around. I'm assuming 3 days a week will still mean Sun,Mon,Tues?

Also - there wont be any QH-only dates, correct? Just QH races on regular dates?

Anonymous said...

Quite an interesting bit of prose. You've managed to smooch enough behinds to ensure yourself a front row seat on Prince Of Wales Day.

Anonymous said...

That Lefko does a great job. I really enjoy his writing. You should stop calling him a cub reporter. Then again, he's not a blogger. Egad.
Arnold Friend

bullring said...

Great news for horsemen and racing fans!

railbird said...

If you enjoy Lefkos writing,you may enjoy his whining too!

Anonymous said...

OK a serious comment (question actually) if I may - how does the 5.6 Million + $500K from the Town compare to the slot $ from - say - 2006 or 2007?