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Trojan slots

March 14, 2012

Long before computers and viruses, the Trojan Horse was the subterfuge by which the Greeks finally made their way into Troy.

Of course, “Beware Greeks bearing gifts” has a whole new connotation, given the European debt crisis.

But the notion of infiltrating your enemy using what ostensibly is a gift is alive and well in this province.

When the Conservative government of Mike Harris initially negotiated the deal by which slots were allowed in racetracks, the revenue splitting was 20% for the racetracks and the rest for the province, with some of that going to municipalities.

The horse racing industry should have recognized a ruse when they saw it back then. Gradually, over time, racetracks have become slot venues, with everyone now wondering why they have horse racing happening at a slots venue.

The announcement that Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation will remove the slots from three tracks in Windsor, Fort Erie and Sarnia not just signals the loss of more than 500 jobs. It sounds the death knell for horse racing in this province.

Fort Erie, particularly, is a track that helped build up Woodbine. Without it, even Woodbine will have trouble continuing as a racing venue. Sad day for the thousands of people involved in horse racing in this province.

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