Turfside Dining Room
Letter from Fort Erie Live Racing Consortium
FORT ERIE, October 13, 2018 - Yesterday, after close of business, the Province issued a press release regarding horse racing in the province. (See press release)
Without a doubt, Fort Erie residents have focused on the following component:
“Fort Erie and Dresden race tracks elected to receive additional financial support for horse racing operations but declined to accept slots at those facilities.”
As the lease-holder of the Fort Erie Track (which includes the facilities which housed the OLG Slots until the Province withdrew and closed them in 2013), the OLG and Province met with Senior staff and the corporate solicitor of the FELRC and discussed a non-negotiable offer, approved by the Ontario Ministry of Finance, that offered FELRC A) a specified number of Slots or B) a cash-in-lieu over time.
There were 3 caveats, 1) that we undertook a non-disclosure confidentiality agreement before hearing the offer 2) that the intent of any offer is to support and bolster horse racing and 3) if horse racing ceased, any and all Provincial support would cease. (So, no horseracing, no slots and/or no sustainability fund).
Permission to discuss the details was granted by OLG only to the extent of the Board of Directors of FELRC and the professional services advising FELRC, such as the corporate lawyer and FELRC accounting firm.
An emergency Board meeting was called by the Chair and the Board of Directors reviewed both offers, their merits, their values and their risks, all supported by Senior staff and legal and financial professionals.
Being bound by the non-disclosure confidentiality agreement, the FELRC cannot disclose details of the offer until granted permission. It can be said however, that the Board deliberated at length and the only clear path to meeting the goals of 2 & 3 (above), namely bolster horse racing and ensure horse racing is more sustainable, was to accept the offer that they believe had the greatest benefit.
Equal deliberation was had by the Board as to the community expectations and significant disappointment that would result from their choice of options.
The FELRC Board is confident that, given the offer and conditions they were presented with, that any reasonable person under those circumstances would have chosen the same path.
Chair, Fort Erie Live Racing Consortium
Please respect the non-disclosure agreement and the fact that we cannot comment further.
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Manager, Marketing & Media Relations
Fort Erie Race Track