WINDSOR — Percy Hatfield, the Official Opposition critic for the OLG and Horse Racing, is calling on the government to instruct Great Canadian Gaming to reverse its ban on families with children at Flamboro Downs grandstand and clubhouse — and instead grow the sport of harness racing in Ontario.
“I’m very concerned at the direction Great Canadian Gaming is taking at Flamboro Downs” said Hatfield, who is the MPP for Windsor-Tecumseh.
“Banning children from the grandstand and clubhouse areas will do nothing to grow the sport of harness racing in Ontario. Look at baseball, soccer, basketball, football, hockey – every other major league sport is making an effort to engage families and create a younger generation of fans – while Great Canadian Gaming wants to leave children out in the cold.”
Great Canadian Gaming has banned children from the grandstand and clubhouse areas of the racetrack, forcing them to watch racing outside, including during the winter months. Hatfield has spoken to the Ontario Harness Horse Association and shares their concerns. Among them, the move is widely seen to show a lack of interest in advancing the racing industry — a industry which is critical to Ontario’s agricultural industries including horse breeding, training and racing.
“I call on the Government to stand up for families and racing fans and tell Great Canadian Gaming this decision is contrary to the best interests of rural Ontarians and the agricultural nature of harness racing in this province,” said Hatfield.
Hatfield is a long-term fan of harness racing who got involved in provincial politics after the former Government ended the Slots-At-Racetracks program, which led to the demise and demolition of Windsor Raceway and the loss of several thousand jobs in the Windsor region.
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