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Fort Erie Race Track will continue to operate through the end of March as it seeks a long-term solution to survive next year, a race track official said.

The track appeared set to close at the end of this year. But James Thibert, chief executive officer of the Fort Erie Live Racing Consortium, said contractual payments from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. will keep the track operating through March 31, 2013. Efforts are continuing to sustain the track beyond that date.

Last April, the OLGC shut down the slot machines at the race track complex, eliminating a huge source of revenue. The track's 2012 live racing season wrapped up in October, leaving the future of the 115-year-old track uncertain.

The funds from the OLGC must be applied toward track operations, Thibert said.

The raceway has applied to the Ontario Racing Commission for 2013 racing season dates.

"We do not know when we will engage with (Ontario) to begin negotiations on racing for 2013 but expect that to commence in mid-January 2013," Thibert said.

The track continues to employ about 40 people on site, in jobs like finance/administration, security, maintenance and mutuel clerks, with operations such as off-track betting continuing, Thibert said. There are no horses on site, and the track's backstretch is closed.

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