Toronto Negotiates for Bigger Part in Woodbine Slots Revenue
On December 22nd, 2007, the city of Toronto is hoping for a $55 million dollars yearly share of profits from the slot games at Woodbine racing track. The city already receives $14.5 million annually from 1,950 slot machines, based on the five percent of the gross from the first 450 slot machines and 2% from the balance.
What the city wants is a 10% increase across the board, the same rate given to the racing track’s owner and to the horse breeders. There have been numerous requests for a better deal for the city but a brand new report going to the meeting on January 8th, 2008 of the council’s executive committee adds fresh idea, according to Councilor Shelley Carroll.
Jim Cronin, the communications director for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, which manages the slot machine program said that all of the seventeen municipalities of Ontario that host racing track slot machines receives the same percentage of the proceeds. He added that the city receives an additional benefit from the work that the slot machines give.
Toronto has 700 employees who have earned $211 million since the slots facility open for business about eight years ago. As for the profits, about $356 million has been given to racing track owners, allowing tracks to improve their facilities and offerings. But Toronto’s share is minimum compared with the total profits, which has a total of $550 million in 2006. Councilor Cesar Palacio said that about 75% of that total profit goes directly to the provincial government.
Amy Tang, the spokesperson for the Public Infrastructure Renewal Minister David Kaplan commented that the province has no plan to change the arrangement. Tang commented that the Dalton McGuinty government has been more generous to Toronto compared with the previous Conservative government.