Imminent Re-opening of Kawartha Downs Assured by OLG

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This Thanksgiving, Cavan Monaghan received some unexpected news that gave the community something else for which to give thanks.

After negotiations between MPP Laurie Scott and Kawartha Downs Manager Orazio Valente to save horse racing and retain some slot machines at Kawartha Downs came to an impasse on October 5th, staff were handed their notices.  Two days later, Mayor McFadden’s last ditch effort to break the deadlock by calling Doug Ford directly paid off, and the deadlock was broken.

The following week, MP Laurie Scott confirmed the good news, explaining that the closure at the facility is temporary and will allow the completion of renovation work which is necessary “to ensure that the facility can operate effectively with a full-suite of 150 slot machines.”

The party who seems to have been excluded from this decision is the operator, Great Canadian Gaming Corporation.  Under this new proposal, it will have two locations to manage and another 150 machines generating revenue.  How much more revenue is hard to predict.

With 500 slot machines already in place in Peterborough, one might wonder at what point the local gaming market will become saturated.   The two casino facilities are different and could attract different customers, particularly during the horse racing season.

At this point, all Valente knows is that there will be a new deal for Kawartha Downs that includes 150 slot machines as well as a horse racing schedule.  Like MPP Scott, Valente, horse owners and Kawartha Downs staff are pleased that an agreement in principle with the province has been reached, but the devil is in the details, and at the moment, they have not been disclosed.

It’s good news for the township as well, because any gaming revenue earned in Fraserville will be subject to the revenue sharing formula.  While slots funding won’t continue at the current level of roughly $3 million a year, it represents found money for the township and could provide a boost to the asset reserves for years to come.  KG

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