The Ontario government is committing $105 million a year for the next 19 years, starting in 2019, for horse racing.
The industry has been bleeding since the cancellation of the Slots-at-Racetracks revenue sharing program in 2012.
There are 15 racetracks in the province, although how much each track will get is unknown.
Kawartha Downs in Fraserville, near Peterborough, is one of those tracks.
“We weren’t involved. It was kept pretty tight. I heard the announcement on Friday, but just like everyone else, we’re waiting on the details to come out,” said Orazio Valente, track general.
In a release, the province said the funding would help transform the industry and bolster rural communities.
The province will provide up to $6 million over three years, beginning in 2018, to help regional racetracks innovate, diversify and expand revenue streams.
The slots at Kawartha Downs will relocate to a new casino in Peterborough later this year.
“With any luck, it will be better opportunities for Kawartha Downs to achieve its 40 race dates for long-term sustainability, with the slots leaving,” said Scott McFadden, mayor of Cavan-Monaghan Township.
The track applied to expand its race dates to 40 from 18 last year, but the Ontario Racing Commission rejected that application. Kawartha Downs can now reapply for an expanded schedule.
“This new, collaborative agreement will provide owners, breeders and racetrack operators with the support they need to ensure stability and success for the long term,” said Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
The 2018 racing schedule at Kawartha Downs begins on May 26.