In 1996, most know that the pari-mutuel tax on wagering was reduced from 7.5% to 0.5% as part of the slots at racetracks program. The industry took this mostly for themselves.
From the ORC directive:
Under an incentive to provide much needed impetus to the industry, the Ontario Government reduces the provincial pari-mutuel tax on wagering from 7.5% to .5% with the balance to be returned to industry to be used as agreed to in the signed Memorandum of Understanding between the government, the ORC and the newly formed Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association (OHRIA).
With the wagering conference coming up this month, I think it is time to have voices heard to right this wrong, and grow Ontario racing.
I propose this:
This tax going back into the industry must be repealed and a mechanism must be put in place where it is returned in an immediate 7% takeout reduction for all tracks in Ontario.
When we listen to Woodbine or other track and horseman execs they often complain that Pinnacle is "stealing" their customers because they offer a 5% rebate. Well, you guys have a 7% rebate that you can give us now that would crush the offshores you complain about.
The argument that they can't afford it simply does not hold water. They got this 7% added in 1996, so they were operating without it for many years. You can't say you can not afford to give something back that you never had in the first place. Not to mention, over $2B has been added to this business through slots, so we can not cry poor.
The benefits are compelling:
1. Word of Mouth and Buzz - Everyone in every jurisdiction that bets racing will know that Ontario has the lowest rakes in North America. You can spin and promote this easily and effectively. I think a 6% reduction is fine, and the other 1% going to an industry marketing plan to get the word out that Ontario has the lowest prices in North America is a grand idea.
2. Churn - HPIbets is currently the platform in Canada. We all know that churn happens most when your money is rebated daily via an internet site. We might be able to churn 6 or 7 times in a tight ADW like HPIbets.
3. More Fans Would Signup - Every bank gives away toasters for new accounts, because they know when you are an account holder you look to be a long-term customer. If the takeout reduction is done in HPIbets.com, it can grow like a bank or cable company has for generations.
4. 7% rebates would be done only for Ontario Tracks - No Santa Anita rebates, no sending money to promote another track. We promote our local product.
In the end, we might just reverse handle trends in this province and grow our sport.
Please reply below if you are for this tax being finally placed back into the players pockets to help stop this massive bleeding in Ontario. I will forward all comments (even a "yes" and "no" comment is appreciated) to whomever I can. If you do play at one of the offshores or play other low cost games now, if you could comment on if this would get you back to playing, it would be appreciated as well. If you could add your name it would be great, but I understand if you do not.