Any individual or business actively involved in horse racing must be licensed by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) in order to participate in racing in the province. This includes owners of race horses, trainers, drivers and jockeys, grooms, anyone requiring access to the backstretch or paddock of the racetrack, pari-mutuel clerks and management staff of the racetrack. The business that operates the racetrack must also be licensed and must apply to license any off-track sites, otherwise known as teletheatres.
All AGCO horse racing licences are issued on an annual basis.
Horse racing licences are issued through the office of the Registrar of Alcohol, Gaming and Racing (Registrar). In assessing the suitability for licensing, issues of honesty and integrity are considered.
The AGCO licenses all racetracks that are operating in Ontario and racing an extended meet of seven (7) days or more race dates. Racetracks that operate less than seven (7) days are considered fairs (non-extended meets) and licensed thorough a modified process.
To operate a racetrack in Ontario, a Racetrack Association must hold a current licence with the AGCO for the given year. Applications for new and annual renewal of racetrack licences are made to the Registrar.
To conduct live racing, a Racetrack Association must also have an approved schedule of race dates for both live and simulcast product.
For more information, including the requisite application forms, see Renewal of Racetrack License Process and Required Documents, or New Racetrack Licensing Process and Required Documents if you are an applicant seeking to obtain a licence for a new racetrack.
The document below outlines the process involved in applying for a licence to operate horse racing where the number of days per year is less than seven (7). For the most part this includes fair racing, where racing is conducted as part of an agricultural society’s annual fair.
Contacts for Racetrack Licensing
Jessica Harvie – Licensing Coordinator
Tanya Cadeau – Manager, Horse Racing Eligibility