Fraser Downs Unable To Thrive Without Games

By Ben Hamill - September 17 2020
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Fraser Downs Unable To Thrive Without Games

A lack of sufficient financial support, so said Harness Racing British Columbia in a recent statement, is what’s behind the decision to postpone the return of live harness racing to Fraser Downs Racetrack and Casino in Cloverdale. Originally set to return to the popular racetrack on September 17, live harness races will now only be recommencing on September 30.

Also home to some 460 on-site slot machines and several Poker offerings, gaming is what has traditionally drawn the crowds to the popular horseracing venue, said the local horseracing authority. But since in-person gaming has for the past six months been off the table, and with no word yet from government regarding a possible British Columbia reopening date, the situation has left the popular racetrack with no other option but to push out the date on which it plans to resume live harness racing action.

Read More...Harness Racing At Rideau To Resume June 7th 

It’s A Waiting Game

Randy Rutledge, president of Harness Racing B.C., has described the racetrack’s financial reliance on the funding created by gaming revenue allocations as crucial to the survival of the Standardbred harness racing industry. The racetrack had been looking forward to the income generated by the games overseen by Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, said Rutledge. The slots however remain closed until further notice from government and local health officials.

To make matters even worse, B.C.’s dilemma is fast becoming a crisis due to the province lagging behind most others in terms of re-opening timelines announced by government. In fact, as of right now, British Columbia is the only remaining province not yet in receipt of the in-person gambling green light from government.

Great Canadian Gaming Corporation operates a total of 25 gaming venues across four Canadian provinces.

GCGC Says About Reopening

The operator has in the meantime confirmed that it remains in close and constant conversation with Rutledge and Fraser Downs.

The current expectation is that in-person gaming could receive a go-ahead from government by November, the operator has said. This date however remains preliminary and will ultimately depend on government’s assessment of the constantly-development of the situation within the province by the time the end of the year draws near.

Rutledge has confirmed that live harness races, once commenced on September 30, will continue all the way to December. The hope is that in-person gaming will have received a thumbs-up by then, said the Fraser Downs chief executive. The survival of the venue depends on a successful in-person gaming relaunch.

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