Horse racing has been part and parcel of Ontario's history since time immemorial, with different venues across the province. As a matter of fact, racetracks pari-mutuel betting was the only legal form of gambling for a very long time. The activities are governed by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), which took over the responsibilities in 2015, from the former Ontario Racing Commission. The merger was meant to see horse racing continue with the best practices. i.e the well-being of the animals, the safety of participants, the protection of the public as well as preserving the traditions.
However, with the emergence of the Covid 19, all racetrack betting operators have either been shut down or limited in terms of the number of people they can host for the last couple of months.
Good news to the residents of Ontario as the government just announced new laws under which horse racing in Ontario reopens.
The future seems bright for Ontario Horse racing following the provincial government newly issued directive allowing greater indoor and outdoor capacities for the racetracks. These venues now have the freedom to welcome betters at a 100% capacity, to compensate for the past months of restrictions.
The new guidelines were issued on October 8, and note that proof of full vaccination will be required to access the select indoor and outdoor venues. This move by the Ontario government was made after careful consultations with the Chief Medical Officer of Health as public well-being is the government's top priority.
Christine Elliot, the Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, clearly indicated that the number of citizens receiving the Covid 19 jab has been increasing day by day, with the overall number exceeding 22 million doses. As such, the growth gives the government the assurance and confidence it needs to pass the new horse racing regulations and laws in Ontario.
Effective October 9, capacity limits were lifted for various venues, including concerts, cinemas, and theatres. Spectator spaces for recreational and sports facilities have also been allowed to operate at full capacities; however, this doesn't include gyms and personal training.
Note that indoor events and meeting spaces are required to limit their capacities to the number of people that can keep a safe physical distance. The new directive also applies to outdoor settings with a capacity of 20,000 people and less.
Car racing tracks, horse racing tracks in Canadian Ontario as well as other similar venues are included in the new announcement. The most visited venues in the province include Woodbine Mohawk Park, Woodbine Racetrack, Ajax Downs, Fort Erie Race Track, Flamboro Downs, Kawartha Downs, Georgian Downs, Clinton Raceway, Rideau Carleton, Dresden Raceway, Hiawatha Horse Park, Hanover Raceway, Western Fair District and Leamington Raceway.
The new horse racing law in Ontario also expects a couple of things from the venues to ensure that safety is maintained at all times at both land and top ten rated Canadian online casinos. Staff and members' safety must be observed - face masks must remain on, and all individuals are subject to regular screening. Taking members' information is also required for contact tracing. Maintaining physical distance isn't necessary, according to the new horse racing guidelines in Canada and especially Ontario but several locations will still have to implement this safety protocol.
Meanwhile, land-based casinos in the province continue to operate with capacity restrictions. The new vaccine passport program implemented on September 22, allows Ontario players to access betting houses with proof of vaccination.