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Licensing

New Racetrack


Under the Racing Commission Act, 2000, the Executive Director has the responsibility for issuing licences to all participants in racing, including racetracks. An applicant seeking to obtain a licence for a new racetrack makes application to the Executive Director. Once granted, an approved racetrack operator applies annually to renew its licence.

Licensing a new racetrack involves a two stage process:
  1. Preliminary approval for a licence is issued by the Executive Director once a due diligence investigation of the applicant is complete and the director is satisfied as to the suitability of the applicant. Preliminary approval issues with terms and conditions that must be agreed to by the applicant.
  2. Final approval for a licence is issued, once the Executive Director is satisfied that the terms and conditions have been met.

A staged process for licensing provides the applicant with a certain degree of comfort that certain regulatory issues have been addressed and provides the Executive Director for a means to maintain licensing control over the longer term project of developing and building the racetrack. Applicants are advised that preliminary approval in no way guarantees that final approval will be granted.

It should be noted that at any stage in the process, the Executive Director can make the decision not to proceed with an application.

Steps to be taken to obtaining preliminary approval:

  1. The applicant files a Letter of Intent to the Executive Director, indicating the applicant's intent to apply for a Licence to Operate a Racetrack.
  2. The Executive Director will forward the necessary application forms and information requirements for attaining preliminary approval to the applicant.
  3. The applicant submits all Stage 1 Required Documents, as described in Appendix A.
  4. The material will be assessed by the administration to:
    • Determine a preliminary estimate of the fee as prescribed under subsection 18(3) of the Racing Commission Act, 2000.
    • Assess on a preliminary basis the completeness of the materials.

      The applicant will be informed by letter of the fee required and any additional requirements for filing. Note: the fee is considered an estimate of the costs of the inquiries. At any time in the investigation, particularly where new filings on ownership and financing are received, the Executive Director may determine that further funds are necessary. Alternatively, any unused portion of the fee will be returned to the applicant upon the completion of the investigation.
  5. Once all the necessary material has been submitted and the fee has been received, the file will be forwarded to the ORC Investigative Unit to conduct the due diligence investigation.
  6. Acting on the material filed and the results of the investigation, the Executive Director will make a decision on the applicant's suitability for licensing. If approved, the applicant will receive Preliminary Approval for a Licence to Operate a Racetrack.
  7. If the Executive Director decides not to approve the application, a Notice of Proposed Order to Refuse to Licence will be issued, and the applicant then has 15 days to request a hearing in respect of the Director's refusal.

    Circulation of Application
    A circulation of the application to the industry will take place once the Executive Director is satisfied as to the suitability of the applicant to be licensed. Industry participants will be invited to make submissions in writing by an established date. All submissions will be provided to the applicant. The Executive Director may also determine other means of soliciting input, including holding a public forum.

    The purpose of the public circulation is to provide the Executive Director with further information in arriving at his/her decision to licence.

    Preliminary Approval Issued
    Preliminary Approval is issued in the form of a letter and will stipulate certain terms and conditions that must be met before Final Approval for a Licence to Operate a Racetrack is issued. The terms and conditions must be agreed upon by the applicant and could include, but is not limited to the following:

    • Filing of some or all of the materials listed under Stage 2, Required Documents, Appendix A
    • Consent to a public forum on the application
    • A commitment to building new facilities to standards and acceptance of the Deputy Director
    • Submission of any new investors and/or owners for due diligence
    • Approval of race dates
    • Backstretch Security Plans, approved by the Deputy Director
    • Racetrack Maintenance Plans, approved by the Deputy Director
    • Track readiness - documentation that the track is ready for racing and has been inspected and approved by the local horsemen's group and the Supervisor of Racing.

    The Executive Director will work with the applicant to determine appropriate filing dates for certain requirements under the terms and conditions, as they relate to the milestones of the project plan filed with the Commission.

    Steps to be taken to obtaining Final Approval

    The applicant will work with the Executive Director and the Administration to satisfy the terms and conditions set out in the Letter of Preliminary Approval. At any time the Executive Director may require further filings, as necessary, to satisfy him/herself as to the suitability for licensing.

    Final Approval Issued

    Final Approval for a licence is issued in the form of a letter and will stipulate certain terms and conditions that must be agreed to by the applicant. Dependant upon the timing, the Final Approval may issue with the physical licence in late December of each successive year.

    The Executive Director may, at any time, make a decision to

    • refuse to issue the licence
    • deactivate a file, if the application is determined to be not proceeding

    Issuing a Physical Licence
    A physical licence is issued in December of any year in which the racetrack intends to start the racing operation, granting the racetrack operator authority to operate. It is the responsibility of the racetrack operator to apply for a new licence each year.

    Change in ownership
    Under the Act, the Executive Director has the power to affect the status of a licence as follows:

    1. any new ownership and any new officers and directors involved in the ownership structure of any company granted a licence to operate a racetrack is subject to review by the Commission, and must submit to a due diligence investigation and be deemed suitable for licensing by the Executive Director.
    2. Any changes to the financial arrangements of any company granted a licence to operate a racetrack is subject to review by the Commission, and must be submitted for due diligence and be deemed suitable by the Executive Director.

    Any questions regarding the procedures outlined above can be forwarded to Jean Major, Executive Director at (416) 213.0520.

    Appendix A
    Required Documents

    The following lists the documents and/or information that must to be filed with the Administration when applying for a licence to operate a racetrack, where the racetrack was not in operation in the previous licensing period and/or where the applicant does not have preliminary licensing approval from the Executive Director.

    Please note that further documentation may be required at the discretion of the Executive Director.

    Stage 1 (Proceeding to Preliminary Approval)

    1. ORC Licence application forms
      1. Application for a Licence to Operate a New Racetrack
      2. Personal History Report (04053) – for all officers, directors, shareholders and key personnel of the applicant
      3. Corporate Shareholder Disclosure Form (4000) – filed when a shareholder is a corporation
    1. Documentation (e.g. Articles of Incorporation, Letters Patent, Shareholder agreements, etc.) and description (including schematics) of the business organization of the proposed applicant, including financing and financial details. Such documents shall be in sufficient detail to complete an investigation of sources.
    2. Proof of ownership of the land or letter of commitment from the lessor of the land, if land not owned. If ownership or a lease has not been established, a letter of intent is required.
    3. Physical property description including drawings of the facilities.
    4. Correspondence from the local municipality stating that the racetrack is zoned correctly for the use and that the facilities meet all fire, health and safety standards.
    5. Correspondence from the association or group representing the horsepeople in the area, stating their position regarding the application.
    6. A proposed schedule of race dates including the type of racing being conducted (Standardbred, Thoroughbred or Quarter Horse racing).
    7. Business Plan of the proposed racetrack - at the preliminary stage, should include the following:
      1. Table of Contents of the final business plan submission
      2. Multi-year Project Plan, including pre and post development, date specific milestones, etc.
      3. Projected Operational Budgets, including pre and post development
      4. Proposed management structure
    Stage 2 (Proceeding to Final Approval)

    A final list of requirements will be stipulated in the terms and conditions in the Preliminary Approval for a Licence, and may include:

    1. Business Plan of the proposed racetrack which should be finalized to include the following:
             
      1. Income/expense forecast
      2. Projected purse pool and a description of purse distribution mechanism, detailing necessary controls and procedures for purse account management.
      3. Intertrack Wagering schedule outline, providing description of product mix and source
      4. Description of plans for Teletheatre Operations
      5. Other ancillary services or entertainment/gaming at the track
      6. Proposed commission rates
    2. Market study with focus on the financial and economic projections and impacts on the horse racing industry. The study should address:
             
      1. Horse supply
      2. Projected attendance
      3. Per capita spend
      4. Handle
      5. Demographic profile of immediate catchment area
    3. If not already submitted, proof of ownership of the land or letter of commitment from the lessor of the land, if land not owned.
             
    4. Evidence of a contract with the local horsepeople in the area to demonstrate the establishment of a relationship.
             
    5. Correspondence from the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency stating their position regarding the application.
             
    6. Approved Race Dates A schedule for live race dates, intertrack schedule and teletheatre schedule to include post times and product.
             
    7. If not already submitted, correspondence from the local municipality stating that the racetrack is zoned correctly for the use. Also from the local municipality stating that the racetrack facilities meet all fire, health and safety standards.
             
    8. Backstretch/Paddock Security Plan, approved by the Deputy Director
             
    9. Racetrack Maintenance Plan, approved by the Deputy Director
             
    10. Fire Safety Plan, approved by the Deputy Director
             
    11. List of proposed Key Employees, including submission of key employees for due diligence
             
    12. List of proposed Racing Officials, including evidence of licensing and accreditation where required and including submission for due diligence where deemed necessary







ORC Google Location 10 Carlson Court

Suite 400

Toronto, Ontario

M9W 6L2



Telephone_logo (416) 213-0520 [Phone]
Email Envelope_logo inquiry@ontarioracingcommission.ca
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