December 15, 2019

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Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority adding horse racing to regulatory responsibilities

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This article was published 27/5/2019 (202 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The Pallister government plans to modernize the rules governing horse racing in Manitoba and transfer regulatory authority to the Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority.

Justice Minister Cliff Cullen said consultations with stakeholders will take place this summer to help facilitate the process. He said he hopes to have the changes in place before the start of the racing season next year.

The Manitoba Horse Racing Commission currently regulates the industry. Legislation governing thoroughbred racing and harness racing in the province was last overhauled in 1987.

Justice Minister Cliff Cullen hopes to transfer regulation of the horse racing industry to the Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority before the start of the racing season next year.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Justice Minister Cliff Cullen hopes to transfer regulation of the horse racing industry to the Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority before the start of the racing season next year.

Cullen said under a bill expected to be introduced in the legislature next year, the duties of the horse racing commission would be folded into the LGCA.

Cullen said the LGCA will be responsible for this summer's consultation process. Recommendations for legislative and regulatory changes are expected by this fall.

Responsibility for the Manitoba Horse Racing Commission was transferred to the Justice Department from the Agriculture Department about a year ago, paving the way for the proposed changes.

'It's a complicated sport that requires a significant amount of education about how it operates. There's a lot of moving parts' – Darren Dunn, chief executive officer of the Manitoba Jockey Club

Cullen said he sees advantages in bringing regulation for all gaming under one provincial body.

"We hope there will be some efficiencies there as well," he told reporters Monday.

Regulation of liquor and gaming was brought under one body in 2014. More recently, cannabis was added to the liquor and gaming authority's mandate.

Darren Dunn, chief executive officer of the Manitoba Jockey Club, which operates Assiniboia Downs, said it makes sense to bring the horse racing industry under the LGCA.

CEO  of the Manitoba Jockey Club, Darren Dunn, thinks it makes sense for the Manitoba's Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority to take over regulatory authority of horse racing in the province.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

CEO of the Manitoba Jockey Club, Darren Dunn, thinks it makes sense for the Manitoba's Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority to take over regulatory authority of horse racing in the province.

"It's a complicated sport that requires a significant amount of education about how it operates. There's a lot of moving parts. And, we're going to provide every little bit of help we can to make sure it's a smooth transition," he said.

Five years ago, the Manitoba Jockey Club and the province signed a 12-year VLT agreement to ensure the viability of live thoroughbred horse racing and buy the MJC time to turn the Downs into a multifaceted tourist destination.

The deal followed 16-months of litigation and allegations when the former NDP government informed the MJC that it was suspending a longstanding agreement that had seen the track receive a larger-than-normal portion of the proceeds from 140 VLTs in place at the Downs. The jockey club withdrew its litigation against the province when the new agreement was signed.

larry.kusch@freepress.mb.ca

Larry Kusch

Larry Kusch
Legislature Reporter

Larry Kusch didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he attended a high school newspaper editor’s workshop in Regina in the summer of 1969 and listened to a university student speak glowingly about the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa.

Read full biography

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