Kawartha Downs is determined to see better days for Ontario’s horse racing field over the upcoming years. President Richard Weldon recently said that he is sure that harness racing has a future in the region and it is going to see its next season in 2021. The unprecedented situation jeopardized its future but at this point, projections are positive.
This week is a special one for the province of Ontario and both its gambling and horse racing fields. Great Canadian Gaming Corporation is about to see the relaunch of eleven casino locations and gaming halls and one of those is Shorelines Slots at Kawartha Downs. The slot machines adjacent to the popular racetrack are about to welcome patrons soon.
September 28 is the special date that will see the slots venue welcome its first patrons for the past half a year. Back in March this year, the gambling hall announced the end of in-person gaming due to the unprecedented situation and the uncertainty across Ontario. The lack of gaming revenue failed to fuel the horse racing purses which put at risk the harness horse racing in the region.
Kawartha Downs has always been a popular gaming destination for players making their way to the live races, as well as for community members interested solely in slot machine gambling. Its regular operation has been supporting the racetrack for years now. The spring of 2018 saw most of the racetracks of Ontario ink arrangements for funding. Kawartha Downs inked a two-year agreement that was further powered by the continued slot machines operation.
Gaming patrons and individuals placing wagers on the live races have shown their support over the past couple of years and this is what gives the president the confidence needed. He claims that this positions the racetrack well for the conversation with Ontario Racing and setting the tone for the upcoming years of operation.
Ontario Racing Agreement
Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation has mandated a 50-patron limit for all casinos and gambling halls and this will be the case at Shorelines Slots at Kawartha Downs, at least during this Stage 3 of the reopening plan. Great Canadian Gaming Corporation pointed out that food offerings will also have to remain unavailable there, protecting players. Kawartha Downs is considered one of the relatively smaller horse racetracks.
Regardless of that, people seem to like everything it has up for grabs which has resulted in betting reaching CA$30,000 per card ahead of the provincial lockdown in March. The in-person betting element is what enhances the live racing experience. This summer made it possible for Kawartha Downs to see live racing without spectators, allowing wagering online. This resulted in a handle reaching up to CA$27,000.
The first stages of this reopening of live races to the people welcomed up to 100 individuals at a time and even this support was enough for the purses to be fueled, at least for the time being. Now that operation next year begins to take shape, long-term plans for the introduction of an events hall is on the table.