Mr. Wayne Gates: Yesterday I was happy to attend the opening of the Fort Erie Race Track, which is celebrating its 118th year. With post time at 4:15, we had nine races that saw an increase in both track betting and off-track betting. I can tell you-I was there last year-attendance was up and sales were up.
The residents of Niagara had a great time yesterday. They want to keep having a great time. That’s why we need more race dates. Forty is a good start from where we were, but we need 77 race dates.
We also need to return gaming to the track in the form of slots. With the slots back and more race dates, the track can become self-sustaining and not need a dollar from the province or the town.
Three years ago, the Premier committed to integrated horse racing with OLG, including gaming, which would bring the slots back to Fort Erie. In fact, it was the Premier’s idea. There are over 1,000 jobs that could be protected there and 200 that could be created with the return of gaming to Fort Erie. That’s jobs for the community that are absolutely needed. By returning gaming to Fort Erie, the province generates revenue and the town gets to keep their race track.
This is something that needs to happen now, so that we can continue to see more days like the very successful day we had at the Fort Erie Race Track yesterday.