Today the Ontario Harness Horse Association (OHHA) offers its support to the proponents behind the EquiLottery initiative, a new horse racing product that adds lottery money directly into on-track handle. “The concept behind this product is one of the few that I have seen that actually integrates horse racing with the lottery as promised” stated OHHA General Manager Brian Tropea. “If there is to be real integration between horse racing and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) this would appear to be one product that can be implemented fairly easily and be of benefit to the racing industry as well as returning additional revenue to the OLG.”
The horse-racing industry has undergone drastic changes due primarily to the lack of sufficient funding for purses in Ontario. “Without any clear proposal to increase revenues in order to raise purses, it is critical to establish this integration or partnership with the OLG as quickly as possible. We have seen an exodus of horses as well as participants from the racing industry in Ontario and, without significant changes to the racing program, it is inevitable that this trend will continue” stated OHHA President Ken Hardy.
EquiLottery President and CEO, Brad Cummings, states: “The support we’ve received from the Ontario racing community has been tremendous as we strive to bring new revenue streams and heightened exposure to this exciting sport and important Ontario industry. I look forward to further talks with all related interests as we work together to find a way for the provincial racing industry to survive and thrive.”
In a July 23, 2014 press release Mr. Cummings was quoted as saying: “As we’ve learned more about the Ontario market, it is clear there has yet to be an answer to the question what does integration mean? With estimated revenues of over $100 million annually in additional Ontario handle, our game looks to add over $25 million to the racing industry in takeout revenue and add an attractive new $100 million gaming option to the lottery. These numbers suggest EquiLottery can at least be part of that answer.”
Tropea adds: “When I met with Mr. Cummings to discuss the proposal I was impressed with the concept and the amount of work that has already been completed to bring this idea to market. While this product may not replace all of the lost revenue to the racing industry, I agree with Mr. Cummings’ suggestion that it can at least be a part of the solution.” “We have been hearing about integration for a long time now. The time for talk has passed. We need action and we need it quickly” stated Hardy.