1 September 2009

Axe Falls On Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corp.

The OLG board resigned and CEO Kelly McDougald was fired with cause.
There has to be much more to these firings than expense filings for golf memberships, pen refills, or weight loss clinics by OLG execs. And no, it can't be because of giving out a Mercedes Benz during Ontario's auto crisis as a prize, as a lottery prize either. And I don't buy it being because of the mistakes made over ticket misprints or slot machine glitches.

Most likely, we will find out more. I expect there to be many non tendered contracts that have been awarded through McDougald's short reign as being a major part of the firing, but I am speculating. The practice of handing out non tendered contracts usually has something to do with nepotism or under the table payoffs or pay back for favours done or expected to be done in the near future. This is something the government is supposed to frown upon and take seriously as it wrecks public confidence, and perhaps that is what is going on here.

Moving forward, it is hard to say how this will impact the Racinos in Ontario. The old OLG regime was apparently tough to deal with, and the OLG may have been partly responsible for the lack of growth in the industry over the last few years.

They also seem to have forgot why casinos were placed at racetracks in the first place: to help subsidize the racing industry in Ontario. For example, it seemed like an impossibility for Fort Erie to get a bigger percentage of casino revenues in order to help its survival under McDougald's regime. I kept hearing that the OLG does not care about horse racing, that it is just a necessary evil.

Maybe the new board and leader will be more racetrack friendly. I know the OLG needs some positive press, and keeping jobs is a must, so they can't afford for Fort Erie racetrack to close. Creating jobs would also be something that would give them some positive news, and I expect the new regime to do their best to fast track the creation of the proposed new Racino in Belleville.

Now if only we can see the same type of house cleaning at Woodbine Entertainment, life for the Ontario gambler, and the industry as a whole, would improve immensely.

Is it just me, or does Kelly McDougald look like Sarah Palin without a makeover?

I think it was a great thing to see Palin gone (not a fan, sorry conservative readers), and it might just be a good thing that McDougald is gone now too.

Ontario Racing Commission Hands Out Large Fine For Violation Of Archaic Rule
The Ontario Racing Commission has released details pertaining to the penalties doled out earlier today to Kerry and Shirley House, the owners of this year’s Gold Cup & Saucer winner, All The Weapons.

As outlined earlier today, each of the owners were fined $17,343.50 for violating ORC rule 15:09a, which stipulates:

15.09. A claimed horse, regard less of ownership:

(a) shall race only at a track or tracks in the Province of Ontario for the next 60 days, except where such a horse had been nominated to participate in an added money event before it was claimed, or unless the track where the horse was claimed is closing for more than 30 days. If the track where the horse was claimed closes for more than 30 days, the horse is released from the requirements of 15.09 (a).

The horse gets claimed in Ontario, and the new owners, who were probably not aware of the rules to begin with, entered the horse in a Stake series in PEI.

The rule has been in place for years to help protect our racing population. This made more sense when Ontario didn't offer some of the best purses in North America, but now the rule needs to be thrown away.

It was wrong to begin with, because it interferes with free enterprise, but especially now with higher purses available, the rule makes no sense, and it only takes away options for new owners, which has could have a negative affect on the amount of horse owners and potential horse owners in the future.

Yes, the House's broke the rules (and willfully too it appears), and they deserve the fine, but this rule needs to be taken out of the books going forward.

Goodbye Whip, Hello Crop
The ORC is just stuck in the stone ages, they do have their progressive moments. Today is the first day that the soft cushion crop is mandatory for jockeys to use. Jennifer Morrison's article in the Star explains things a lot better than I can.

I wonder who will be the first jockey to get fined under the new urging rule.

Steven Crist: More Questions Than Answers In Lasix Debate
Excellent read. But whether Lasix is allowed or not, it really doesn't matter, as long as takeout is high. Racing's woes won't be fixed by cleaning up their tarnished image in regards to Lasix masking other drugs.

I'll also add that if racing wasn't so dysfunctional in North America, Lasix would have no place in the game except during workouts.

Don't shoot the messenger.

Finally, the other Canadian blogger who really gets it has written an excellent piece over at the HANA blog on the fact that carnivals are light years ahead of the racing industry when it comes to understanding the customer.


Anonymous said...

Sarah Palin Is HOT!

No comparison.wtfu.

That Blog Guy said...

Regarding the owners of All The Weapons. They have a trainer don't they? How does a trainer who races in Ontario and claims the horse in Ontario not know the rules regarding the 'jailing' of claimers. They basically told the ORC they were number one with their middle finger. I would like to know how the trainer gets off without any penalty.

railbirdbrad said...

The rule actually started yesterday at Fort Erie with the light touch whips,and i can see Eurico Rosa disilva da losa,being first to get fined for misuse of the whip,let alone butchering the english language!