June 12, 2012

Perspective from Quebec on the Cancelling of the Slot Agreements with Ontario Racetracks

Tony Infilise, Chairman of the Quebec Jockey Club, spoke at a recent press conference regarding the negative impact on the horse racing and breeding industry following the closure of racetracks in Quebec and his perspective on the cancelling of the Slot Agreements with Ontario's racetracks.

Tony Infilise on behalf of the Quebec Jockey Club:

As the Chairman of the Quebec Jockey Club (QJC) an organization that is working to rebuild horseracing in Quebec, I am here to speak of our experiences, which saw the end of horseracing in my province.  The QJC emerged because of the closure of all of the racetracks in Quebec.  These closures were the result of the bankruptcy of Attractions Hippiques, the company that operated Quebec racetracks as the successful bidder to the 2006 government-issued RFP to privatize horseracing.  Part of the privatization plan was for Loto-Quebec to install a total of 1900 Video Lottery Terminal (VLTs) at Quebec racetracks.  The revenue from these VLTs was projected to reach $49 million per year for the horseracing industry.  However, the revenue shared with the racetracks amounted to only $7 million.   This combined with other factors resulted in the bankruptcy of Attractions Hippique and the shut-down of racing in 2008.  

In Quebec, 87% of the jobs in the horse racing and breeding sector have been lost.  From a high of 3,000 full time equivalent jobs in 2004 to a mere 400 jobs today.   To put the size of the Quebec horse industry in context, Equine Canada’s study identifies 34,816 direct industry jobs in Ontario.  Similarly, the number of licensed horsepersons in Quebec has declined by 80% over the same period from over 7,000 to less than 1,500 individual licensees.  

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