Discussions over Woodbine Racetrack Expansion to Be Renewed

Woodbine casino expansion plan. Woodbine just became the first casino in the GTA to get live gaming tables | Daily Hive Toronto

Lawson believes the key for Woodbine, or any racing industry, to get government support is to show how many jobs are involved in the everyday business of the sport. A track gets them, the money comes way too easily and horse racing becomes an afterthought, something that is easy to ignore.

When you spend time around the racetracks you begin to appreciate the skill levels of the grooms, the exercise riders, the blacksmiths.

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Thus, more jobs will be created for the residents of the suffering district of Rexdale. How about shutting down the slots 30 minutes before each series of horse races to give the horse-racing culture a fair shake at survival in light of the addictive, instant-gratification of slots?

The industry was saved, but no permanent solutions were offered and the government made it clear that the handout was a one-time deal. If racing in Ontario was going to make it at the expiration of the five-year plan it was going to have to get its act together and find a way to make the sport work again.

This will also contribute to the growth of both the horse breeding and racing industries in Ontario.

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Amanda Galbraith, who is taking the position of a communications director for Mayor Tory, commented that he is ready to reopen the debate for the expansion of Woodbine but only if it involves the addition of a hotel venue, dining options, and other amenities.

Woodbine has weathered a storm of hurricane proportions, has proven that a fire has indeed been lit underneath management, is still there and should be there for along time to come. But while Great Canadian, of B. Recently, Woodbine Entertainment Group, the company that manages the afore-mentioned gambling venue, has asked local authorities, headed by Mayor John Tory, to reconsider their decision to ban its further expansion, which was made back in It is a great day for the Ontario horse racing and breeding industry.

On that note, Innisfil Mayor Gord Wauchope had initially said that he was hopeful that Great Canadian would take over management of the Georgian Downs casino in his area, located near Barrie. But an acute case of despair has been replaced by hope for the future.

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That, Lawson said, is key to convincing the government that horse racing has a future and that the government should be receptive to its needs. We need to introduce a new and better guest experience.

Eaves said that back inToronto officials did not pay Woodbine much attention, as they were more concerned with the bid for the construction of a downtown casino. For example, why should anyone risk getting slapped with an impaired-driving charge when they can stay much closer to home? With a good relationship with the government, he believes many of those issues can be solved, starting with a tax break.

Even the idea of clockwise racing falls into that category of a better guest experience. At present, Woodbine Racetrack features horse racing options as well as 3, slot machines. December 20, at 8: The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation ran the slots operations at the tracks and the tracks collected their share of the profits for purses and operating expenses.

The band informed the council that it wants the gaming agency to revisit a Rama development plan that included additional rooms and expanded conference space.

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For one, the handle increases are not nearly as impressive as they may look at first glance. Perhaps no racing industry in the history of the sport has seen more dramatic ups and downs than Ontario has since the slots program was implemented in With slots and wagering on horse racing already on site and the potential for job opportunities, Mayor John Tory expressed his support for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.

The plans under review also call for a seven-level garage with 4, parking places, 1, of which would be below the entertainment building. A statement from Woodbine Entertainment Group issued Wednesday states, "We want to thank Toronto City Council for their support in trusting Woodbine Entertainment Group to make the best use of the Woodbine racing site.

He only pointed out that for now, they would like for officials to consider lifting the restriction that was imposed back in But given the massive Woodbine-expansion plan under brisk development—and being heavily promoted—Toronto area people will feel the incentive to stay near home. Yet all Canadians hear are media-based remarks like: While Woodbine would not receive any cut from the casino money it does serve as the landlord for the on-track gaming facilities.

We had to show them what a labor-intensive industry this is.

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Then it all came crashing down. There are thousands of these people. Today's vote to support expanded gaming and table games at Woodbine means there is a catalyst for future development on the site. Lawson worries about a lot of things, particularly the horse shortage and the lack of new blood among the ranks of owners.

But the argument goes beyond dollars and cents, he said.

As for OLG, it stated that expansion of the gambling industry will only be considered in municipalities that consent to this. Lawson is hoping for the same at the WEG-owned harness track, Mohawk. Connected south of this will be a 48, square meters two-story entertainment building containing a casino—with retail and restaurants, bars and lounges, along with two-story retail and casino administration offices.

Because of that we probably collectively took our eyes off the ball and lost our focus and our incentive to push the gambling side of our business, which is what ought to drive our business.

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Therefore, with news of the Woodbine expansion crackling through the airwaves and the planned addition of table games there, the deck may be stacked for a rather serious economic downturn in the greater Orillia area and more undercutting of the equestrian culture. In both cases, the OLG is dishing out enough money, with gobs of it flowing to the media specifically to advertise gambling, to virtually ensure that the unrestrained growth of gambling will continue without vocal criticism or resistance from anyone within the municipal, media and provincial establishment.

Statistics show that there is between 1. Nick Eaves, currently taking the position of a president of Woodbine, said in an interview for local media that it is really important for Toronto authorities to reconsider the restriction, as currently, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. Because the traditional horsemen already had a gaming license, the OLG moved into Woodbine and installed slots.

For almost 15 years Ontario racing was held up as the poster child for the right way to integrate racing and gaming. It has also opened the door to a significant number of good and new jobs in Rexdale that will be created through the development of new Woodbine amenities like concert and entertainment venues, food and beverage facilities, and so much more.

And then they started to put the pieces back together again. Another prospective source of revenue could come from the lottery itself. And our caution is being clearly vindicated.


Woodbine has a huge aging plant that needs constant care, it insists on offering big purses and high-class racing yet has to compete for horses with tracks that have tens of millions in slot money at their disposal and, according to Lawson, they pay tax rates that are not in line with the rest of North America.

Lawson understands that, which is why he will tell you his work is far from done. What he does not mean is that WEG must turn a profit solely on the revenue it receives from parti-mutuel wagering. The negative, frankly, was that it created a false economy for everyone in the industry.

The place will have story hotel towers containing well over rooms, perhaps close to 1, rooms, with the towers overlooking the racetrack. Take away the minors who cannot enter casinos, and those percentages jump.

With huge purses, Ontario racing flourished. He pointed out that this is really important for the venue as well as for all 7, people that are employed there. We became too successful in the sense that land-based gaming took off and the racetracks were huge beneficiaries of it. So Woodbine went to work on every aspect of its business, fine tuning what needed fine tuning, streamlining what needed to be streamlined and improving what needed improving.

It ensures a secure and sustainable revenue source for the horse racing and breeding industry in Ontario and protects the 7, existing jobs in Toronto.

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Toronto approves Woodbine casino expansion