There are a couple of articles in Harness Racing Update (pdf) today on the Ontario situation. The first, by Bill Finley quotes Jody Jamieson and Bill O'Donnell on handle numbers, dates and revenue from that. They don't think the numbers make sense.
The government has said that (apparently) purses will be driven by handle, while transition money will pay track expenses. If so, purses should be at or near the same level for two years. This does make some sense if you crunch the numbers, in the most basic way imaginable.
Harness Handle average $1.3 million.
Takeout (overall): 19%
Gross Revenue: $247,000
Woodbine gives out about $200,000 in purses each evening.
The current set up with handle, I believe, is to give close to half the 19% rake (about 8.5%) to purses, and 8.5% to Woodbine for expenses. As well, purses get a portion of simulcast handle.
I have not heard what this "handle for purses" system entails. Is it all of live handle and a portion of offsite handle? Does it include money bet on other tracks?
Woodbine, through its distribution network does about $900 million a year in handle. A percentage of that off site handle goes to harness and thoroughbred live purses right now. Is this money part of any new paradigm? Does the Ministry mean harness racing will get purse revenue off local handle and local handle only, or are simo-dollars included at some rate?
As with most everything in Ontario these days we find ourselves with more questions than answers. If anyone has heard how exactly purse money will be devised in this new system, please let me know in the comments section.