22 December 2009

Ontario Government Thinking Of Privatizing Slots

What Happens If The Ontario Government Sells Off Casinos?
The Ontario government is thinking about selling their Crown assets. These include Hydro One, Ontario Power Generation, The LCBO, and the OLG (Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.). The OLG runs all casinos in Ontario.

There still is no decision as to whether some, none or all of the Crown's assets will be sold or when they will be sold.

OK, lets look at the possible repercussions. First off, I can see the Niagara Casino and Windsor Casino being sold outright to a large Vegas based company. A company without any experience in gaming isn't going to buy the casinos. This would be good for the customer. We will see more perks. Free drinks for the shooters as well.

Now what about racetrack slots? One thing to keep in mind is that the OLG does not own the slots or the buildings where the slot machines are found. The individual tracks own all that. The OLG owns the slot machines, and their most important asset is the right to make money from those slot machines. For use of the track's building and because of the known fact that slots cannibalizes horse racing, the OLG pays all expenses to run slots and pays the track 10% and the horsemen another 10% of the profits from slots, as well they pay the township where the slots are located another 2-3%.

The best possible solution is for the OLG to sell the rights to operate slots to the individual slots. Owners of tracks have already undergone major background checks before the ORC allows them to operate a race track.

Secondly, bringing in a third party to run the slots could cause major hardship to the racing industry. Right now the OLG is pretty complacent when it comes to potential customer crossover. But get a slot operator that has its only source of income coming from gamblers losing at slots, and we might see more aggressive behavior towards potential crossover. For example, if Joe Smith loses $200 playing slots, the casino winds up over $150, the track and horsemen get $20 each. If Joe Smith loses $200 at the track, the track and horsemen wind up with over $80 each (and the casino gets nothing). It is to the tracks best interest that the gambler playing horses, and it is to the casino operator's best interest that the casino player doesn't even know horse racing exists. This could cause a hostile environment.

I'm not sure that the government can just give racetracks first right of refusal when it comes to buying the slots operations, or if they have to take the best possible offer. But it does make sense that tracks will be willing to pay the most for the operations since they can potentially cut down their labour costs and other operating costs by running both operations under the same management.

The government can simply give the tracks a 10 to 20 year mortgage to pay for the slot's operations, while still getting around 3-4 cents on every dollar wagered through the machines in the form of a tax.

Racetracks will wind up making more than the 10% they make now. Most of the extra will be used to pay down the mortgage debt. They might be in a position, in the case of Fort Erie for example, to offer a bigger cut to purses (than the mandatory 10%) if the racing game continues to sink.

The government will still have rules in place, including the 10% of slot profits that goes to purses, and they will hopefully enforce the rule that if there is no racing, there is no slots.

Teen Arrested For Having Sex With Horses
Happened at the oldest active track in North America; The Goshen Historic Track. "This guy makes Michael Vick look like a charter member of PETA," Village police Chief James Watt said.

Canadian Harness Tracks Gets Proactive: Canada One Racing Looking To Get More Bettors In North America To Be Exposed To Canadian Harness Racing

Not surprisingly, Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) has decided not to participate in the project. For one thing, if Canadian harness racing is put on the map, Woodbine and Mohawk would benefit regardless, and secondly and most importantly, horse racing has become a necessary evil over at WEG. WEG is now only concerned about taking what they can without spending much money. They realize that they are not offering a product that the general public wants, and with their high takeout rates, they know by now, they just can't attract new people anymore. They've given up on horse racing. Instead of changing prices and being an industry leader, their focus is now staying afloat so they can expand their profitable business (slots and potentially other casino games).

Canada One is potentially looking to embrace exchange betting. Exchange betting or not, Canadian harness racing is in a position to become a leader when it comes to lowering takeout rates collectively (can we say 12% across the board?), and getting a tremendous head start versus their thoroughbred industry rivals.

More Cuts At Woodbine
Besides recently firing the parking lot staff a few weeks ago, I also heard a rumour that Jennifer Morrison was released from her duties of odds making (including the Winter Plate Book). She will also not be giving handicapping seminars either. I emailed Jennifer and she confirmed the rumour is in fact reality.

What a stupid move by Woodbine. Jen's Thoroughblog is a source for many Ontario thoroughbred horsemen to get a daily dose of what is happening pretty much at Woodbine. Getting her to spend less time at Woodbine will cause her to have less insight on the daily goings on there, and it naturally gives her less incentive to give Woodbine positive advertising (something you won't find my here at Cangamble). Hundreds of people (mostly from Ontario) visit her blog daily. I guess she can afford to be more controversial now.

Like I wrote earlier, Woodbine is giving up on horse racing. I wonder if the Score and racing SUN TV will be affected too. Last year, Woodbine cut the talking heads from their HPITV telecasts. Woodbine may have been up 6% in handle but their real income was most likely down, and the way it is going, the trend will continue.

If you want to complain to Woodbine about Jennifer Morrison's dismissal, call 1-888-675-7223 or 416-675-7223.


Anonymous said...

Ontario Government Thinking Of Privatizing Slots
it's about time!

i've been lucky so far but it's bound to happen sooner or later. i'll see somebody playing his favourite slot machine with a catheter draining his bladder into his boot. maybe the pungent aroma of an adult diaper. i don't need any of that! privatize those slots! put em in tiny little closet-like rooms. why, never mind the bodily functions: it's sad to see the people playing those damned things at the best of times. get 'em out of my sight!

Teen Arrested For Having Sex With Horses

How dare this cop suggest he makes michael vick look like an animal lover?!!!!!!
vick was dealing in the death of animals; this teen was dealing in l-o-v-e. i can sure see a difference! how dare he! the nfl, i mean the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE gets a free pass! as long as no thoroughbreds were involved, what's the big deal?

any word on whether any of those mares conceived? we might see something like those goddam cartoon .25 horses.

railbird said...

What a joke releasing Jen from Woodbine,she knows more about that track than almost anyone there,but they keep frauds like Jim Bannon,Elissa Blowes and Chad Rozema on,Seems the mananagement still doesnt know their @ss from a hole in the ground!

Anonymous said...

I always kinda thought Jen was a numbnut.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I always thought Jen really came across as part of WEG's marketing arm anyway. She defienetly knows her stuff but is WAY to fluffy in my opinion.

this sport needs more people to take the tracks to task, not grease their balls at every turn.

the fact that she covered the sport for a Major newspaper in this country while working for WEG at the same time, is ridiculous, and her columns generally reflected this.

no other reporter at that paper works for the the teams/organizations, and/or athletes they cover. All i hope for now, is she holds a grudge. then she could put her immense talent where it always should have been. Keeping WEG on their toes.

Cangamble said...

Horse racing is a tough sport to cover critically(if you expect to make a living at it).
If you slam management, they won't give you interviews, if you slam a jockey, almost every jockey won't give you an interview. If you do an expose on drugs, good luck getting an interview by a trainer.
If you depend on industry advertising, you can't be critical either.
That is why blogs like mine turn out to be the horseplayers best friend, but I'm a thorn in the side of the industry.

Anonymous said...

I think Cangamble is great for the industry. Then again, I like everything about racing and the world and feel that somehow, someway, goodness will prevail and the worlds of horse racing and the world at large will harmonize in a truly peaceful and meaningful way. Let us all pray for peace and goodwill in 2010 and the unionization of spiritual context and positive energy. Okay, you can add dropping the takeout as well.

railbird said...

I hit 2 triactors @ santa anita 2day but i stupidly bet it @ weg instead of william hill! both paid me 10% less!Merry f n xmas!