Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Case on hold as jockey club, province talk

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A court challenge of a provincial decision to slash VLT revenues to the Manitoba Jockey Club at Assiniboia Downs has been adjourned until next month while the club and province try to negotiate a settlement.

Court of Queen's Bench Justice Gerald Chartier granted the adjournment on Friday at the jockey club's request. "We're closer than ever to getting this resolved," jockey club lawyer Jeff Rath told court on Friday.

A provincial law enacted last year would slash video-lottery-terminal revenue to the jockey club by $5 million a year. The law would also allow the government to steer part of parimutuel-levy revenues to rural harness racing.

These provisions have yet to be instituted while the matter is before the courts.

Chartier will hear arguments from the club and province on April 14 unless an agreement is reached beforehand.

The jockey club, which operates the Downs, is challenging on constitutional grounds the law that cuts its VLT take. The law, passed last fall, would bar the jockey club from suing the province over its decision.

The jockey club says the provisions in the law affecting court challenges are too broad.

The province and jockey club were to meet Friday afternoon. There was no immediate word on how those discussions went.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 22, 2014 A14

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