Agreement gets thoroughbred racing back on track
The Alberta government’s renewed agreement with Horse Racing Alberta supports jobs and is helping ensure the viability of the industry.
After a nine-year absence, thoroughbred racing returned to the Calgary area in the 2017 season at Century Downs Racetrack and Casino. The long-awaited homecoming of the iconic race horses follows the government signing a new 10-year agreement with Horse Racing Alberta last year, which will help support rural communities and the agriculture sector across the province.
“Our partnership with Horse Racing Alberta gives the industry stability and confidence to continue developing racing in the province. The return of thoroughbred race horses to Century Downs is an important signal that the industry is thriving. Continued support of rural communities is just one way we’re working to bring the economic recovery to the homes of each and every Albertan and working to make life better for all Albertans.”
The renewed agreement supports 1,600 jobs and millions of dollars in investment in racing infrastructure, including a new track in the Edmonton area. Horse racing generates an estimated $290 million in economic benefits for Alberta, including support for many rural communities where breeding, raising and racing horses are of significance.
Under the renewed agreement Horse Racing Alberta receives a share of slot machine proceeds from Racing Entertainment Centres. In 2017-18, the agreement is forecast to provide $35 million to Horse Racing Alberta. No tax dollars are used in the agreement.
Additional revenue from slot machines is directed to the Alberta Lottery Fund, which supports thousands of volunteer and community organizations throughout the province.
“Thoroughbred racing returning to the Calgary area was brought about by the 10-year funding agreement and the confidence and long-term sustainability that agreement brought to the industry. It’s the same confidence that led to a $50-million investment decision to build the Edmonton-area racetrack.”
“The 10-year funding agreement has brought a new sense of optimism and desire for investment into capital, infrastructure and horse population in Alberta. Alberta is now poised to be a leader in horse racing in Western Canada and North America and that is directly attributable to the confidence and sustainability the funding agreement provides.”
Thoroughbred racing is anticipated to return to the Calgary area at Century Downs for the 2018 season.