Saturday, 19 March 2016 11:48

New horse racing agreement supports rural Alberta

Written by Jeff Robillard
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A renewed 10-year funding agreement with Horse Racing Alberta will help ensure the viability of Alberta 's horse racing industry and reflects government's focus on responsibly managing provincial finances during the economic downturn.

The Government of Alberta and Horse Racing Alberta (HRA) have signed a new 10-year agreement, which will support rural communities and the agriculture sector. The agreement replaces a previous 10-year funding arrangement expiring at the end of March, which supported the industry using a portion of slot machine revenues from Racing Entertainment Centres (RECs) located in a number of locations around the province. This new agreement is expected to directly support 1,600 Alberta jobs and result in significant additional indirect economic benefits for rural communities and businesses.

"Horse racing is an important cultural and sporting industry in this province and this agreement builds a foundation for a long-term sustainable future. This renewed partnership with HRA supports rural Alberta and prevents loss of jobs and livelihood at a time of economic uncertainty ."
— Joe Ceci, President of Treasury Board, Minister of Finance

"Alberta's horse racing and breeding industry is optimistic the Government of Alberta has provided our industry with the means to successfully manage and develop the future of horse racing and breeding in the province. The length of the agreement is essential to the breeding industry, which plays an important role in the economic impact of horse racing in Alberta. HRA is confident with this new agreement that the horse racing industry will continue to provide Albertans jobs, along with being an entertainment and racing destination at the four RECs in the province."
— Rick Lelacheur, Chair, Horse Racing Alberta

In the past, HRA, a private not-for-profit corporation, received flow-through funding from the Alberta Lottery Fund equivalent to 51 2/3 per cent of the net revenue from slot machines at RECs. Under the new agreement, the percentage will be gradually reduced over three years to 40 per cent: 50 per cent in 2016-17, 45 per cent in 2017-18 and 40 per cent beginning in 2018-19 and for the remainder of the 10 year term ending in 2026. No tax dollars are used within this funding arrangement.

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