BC Horse Racing - new economic development thrust
Milburn leads new
economic development initiative
thoroughbred horse owner, trainer and industry executive David
Milburn, a lawyer by profession, has been appointed to chair a new
thrust to assess the economic foundation of both standardbred and
thoroughbred horse racing in B.C., and to prepare an action plan for
the future, exploring a "competition committee" model used
successfully to manage the development of other professional sports.
A representative committee of racetrack managers, horse people
(owners, trainers, association executives), marketers,
communications specialists and horseplayers has been formed to
explore what might be the best model for the future. Assisting in
the project is Sam Hawkins, the Director of the Horse Racing
Division, of the B.C. government's Gaming Policy and Enforcement
The vice-chair and secretary of the new committee is BANNERLINE's
Gary Bannerman, who was also vice-chair of the B.C. Racing
Commission's Economic Development Committee in 2000-2001, and author
of the committee's 40,000-word report, The Road to Recovery. Milburn
was also chair of that project.
committee has evolved from 15-years of B.C. initiatives designed to
stop the steady erosion of horse racing's prominence among sports
and entertainment options, and within the otherwise booming gaming
Important past initiatives have been:
Horse Racing Alliance (1996-2001) - an industry campaign of both standardbred and thoroughbred track operators, as well as horse
people from both sectors, who successfully lobbied governments
to reverse unfair taxation and to permit the racing industry to
participate in machine gaming.
Racing Commission's Economic Development Committee (2000-2001)
as previously noted, a mixed group of horse racing people and
prominent individuals from other business pursuits, most notably
professional sports management, marketing and government.
consolidation of ownership of Hastings Racecourse, Fraser Downs
and Sandown Park by Great Canadian Gaming Corporation (GCGC), a
major Canadian company with top management passionate about
horse racing. Chuck Keeling, the long-time General Manager of
Fraser Downs and Sandown, was named to head GCGC's horse racing
division, responsible also for two racetracks and casinos in
important Chuck Keeling business development thrusts
(2005-present) - the Horse Owners Advisory Panel (Project
Respect) and the Horseplayers' Advisory Panel (The Lifeblood
Project). Keeling vowed upon taking on his present
responsibilities for five Canadian racetracks, three casinos and
a network of teletheatre interests, that these two groups were
going to get a disproportionate amount of attention - those who
invest hard cash into the sport - either through buying horses
or through their wagers. The later group has rarely ever been
formally consulted by anyone.
assignment of the new committee is to review all of this past
experience and the published reports, with a view toward an action
plan for the future.
to Recovery - report of the Economic Development Committee, 2001
discussion paper authored by Keeling, Milburn and Bannerman in
2006 that set the stage for the current committee
agenda/preliminary discussion paper for the first meeting of the
exploratory group, June 22, 2007, including the committee roster
- biographical notes.
of the June 22, 2007 meeting - since confirmed and unanimously
endorsed by the participants.
would be appreciated. E-mail
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