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WEG Announces Restructuring

Published: February 13, 2013 4:20 pm ET

Last Comment: February 15, 2013 3:11 pm ET | 16 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

On Wednesday, February 13, the Woodbine Entertainment Group announced that it has undertaken a "significant restructuring of its operating model" after a large, unspecified amount of its employees were let go earlier in the day.

The contents of the WEG press release regarding the restructuring appear below in their entirety.

Woodbine Entertainment Group Implements Restructuring

TORONTO, February 13, 2013 - Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) today announced a significant restructuring of its operating model. While the company recently announced new transitional agreements with the Ontario government and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), the revenue from those agreements will be significantly less than WEG earned through the Slots-at-Racetracks partnership. As a result, WEG has had to take steps to reduce costs and achieve efficiencies through the implementation of a new operating model.

The changes implemented today will result in the reduction of some services at Woodbine and Mohawk racetracks. The employee impact goes through the entire organization, from the executive offices to frontline employees. Including changes implemented in late 2012, WEG's total workforce will be reduced by 109 salaried positions and a significant number of hourly positions. In addition, a number of jobs will be converted to seasonal and the amount of hourly work available will be reduced.

"Today is a very difficult day for Woodbine Entertainment Group," said Nick Eaves, President and CEO of Woodbine Entertainment Group. “The people we are saying goodbye to have helped build WEG into a world-class horse racing and entertainment company. As we confront these difficult but necessary changes to our company, we remain committed to delivering a superior experience to our customers and demonstrating vital leadership to the Ontario horse racing industry to ensure its long-term sustainability."

WEG's operating model, both on-track and off-track, will be realigned to better reflect the new agreements with government and the OLG and its recently announced reduced race schedule. In addition, internal operations are being downsized or amalgamated to align with these new financial realities.

"This restructuring of our operations is absolutely necessary to ensure the viability of our business during this period of transition," said WEG Chairman Jim Lawson. "WEG and its government partners must continue to work together in order to achieve the only sustainable solution - the integration of horse racing into Ontario's overall gaming strategy, which needs to include expanded gaming, operated by WEG, at Woodbine and Mohawk racetracks.”

February 15, 2013 - 3:11 pmWhen a man like Robin Morley

When a man like Robin Morley agrees with me I know I am right. Now if the Racing Community manages to find its collective intestinal fortitude and blockades then do as the First Nations do hold your babies in your arms it is their future as well as yours. The Police won't dare beat them and do alert the press. I will be there!!

February 15, 2013 - 11:26 amJohn, you hit the nail on the

John, you hit the nail on the head. Not one nickle went back into promoting the game. New York state has learned from our mistakes, and have commercials boasting the importance of the horse industry for New York. Last time I checked, they are doing pretty well there.

February 14, 2013 - 10:24 pmQuoting Ella Wheeler Wilcox,

Robin Morley SAID...

Quoting Ella Wheeler Wilcox, "To sin by silence when we should protest, makes cowards out of men".
My wife and I are small-time breeders and owners of standardbred broodmares and racehorses. Anyone knowing us would never consider us radical. However, we feel that with the restructuring announced by WEG, our business is virtually on its last legs. As expressed previously on this website, that our Native Canadians do get results from protesting, we think it's time to pull out all the stops. It appears that all negotiations have failed and more drastic measures are required. We suggest that a 401 blockade be organized by OHHA on Tuesday, February 19th at 10:00 a.m.when Provincial Parliament reconvenes. Horse people could meet with their trucks and trailers (no horses on board) at the Mohawk Raceway parking lot and proceed the short distance to the 401. This blockade should shut down traffic on the 401 East to Toronto and Montreal and 401 West to Detroit. We should be willing to stay until we get some positive feedback from Queens Park. This is a drastic measure for drastic times.
We don't have much time to arrange this but little preparation is required if OHHA takes the reins and spreads the word.

February 14, 2013 - 10:14 pmFolks we are being played by

Chuck Ibey SAID...

Folks we are being played by the Liberals! So OHRIA and all its encompassing parties need to come with a far more severe strategy or we are simply done!

February 14, 2013 - 1:23 pmwhy has no on gotten a rally

mike bates SAID...

why has no on gotten a rally going to show how many people are losing there jobs and there farms to this round in circles not getting anywhere to what s in store for horse racing i say everyone get you re truck and horse trailer hooked up and park it on the front door of the idiots that are causing havoc to horse racing have been a long time better at the horses and its sad all the drama around the track has taken all the enjoyment out of it causing less and less people to go i say turn it around stand together show the government how many tax payers they are pushing to curb out of jobs and not able to pay there tax bill due to it this government has just got one thing on there own mind filling there own pockets not the ones that have to pay the bills for this country stand up would love to see a ton of trucks on the hill in ottawa feb 27th lets show them who we are!!!!!!

February 14, 2013 - 12:07 pmJust to further the loss of

Just to further the loss of business this will incur, as I stated earlier did I fail to mention...Truck Dealers, Horse Trailer Dealers, Gasoline outlets, Motels & Hotels , Restaurants...need I mention anymore. It just keeps on going on and on and on. All of these businesses paid taxes to the Provincial Gov. .Have they even considered this loss of revenue??? I say NOT!!!!

February 14, 2013 - 10:58 amJohn Smith If the earnings

john smith SAID...

John Smith
If the earnings from the OLG plan are going
to be significantly less than the SAR,is this
not evidence enough to prove that we need to
keep our slots at the race tracks.
How many more similar press releases are we
going to have to endure before the light goes
on,on parliament hill.
Look....everyone knows that the SAR revenue
sharing program is a success,not this scam
created by some Liberal Party persons and their
south of the border rich counter parts.
It's our govt's place
to pull in on the reins of the OLG,but I haven't
seen this gov't use their authority yet in this
totally insane OLG program.
Does the OLG and this gov't honestly think that
these persons who's lives have been devistated
by this move are going to be frequenting these
new casinos,as well as any other persons that
will be hit by this and also the current
unemployed people in this province.
WAKE UP!!!...........WAKE UP..........

February 14, 2013 - 10:52 amIs what is happening to the

John Carter SAID...

Is what is happening to the industry fair and just probably not as it was handled very poorly by the liberal government. However having said that, here is a little reality check for the industry. When the slots at racetracks program was implemented the industry leaders right down to the horse people did not have the foresight to see the big picture. There was a dwindling fan base, gamblers walking away left, right and center and they did nothing about it. They were complacent and foolishly believed the good times would last forever. During this period of goodtimes not a single track did anything that was going to make any long term difference when it come to there gambling base and know that the slots have been all but taken away from them it may be to late, greed did the industry in.

February 14, 2013 - 9:48 amAll accurate comments, and

All accurate comments, and may I continue to "bore" people with mine. When The First Nations face anything similar to what racing faced and is facing they show up in the thousands and their leadership take "drastic" action. Like it or not that is all that works in our society. Clearly the "negotiation" style of our racing "leadership" has been and is pathetic!

February 14, 2013 - 7:48 amAre you people talking again?

Diane Lord SAID...

Are you people talking again? Since 2011 all I've been hearing is talk ,talk, and more talk, no action whatsoever. A few gathering speeches, here and their, but that's about it. Goodluck! P.S. Blame yourself's and not the goverment. It also shows how ununited the horse people of Ontario. So Sad!!!

February 14, 2013 - 5:14 amI hate to say this ..BUT if

I hate to say this ..BUT if the Biggest track environment in the world is headed in this direction ...Good Bye to ALL the other tracks as we knew them in the past. This will be devestating to the industry, Drivers, Trainers, Grooms, Farm owners, Vets, Feed sources need I say more.

February 14, 2013 - 12:06 amIn my opinion horsemen/women

Paul Keith SAID...

In my opinion horsemen/women didn't take this matter seriously enough when Paul Godfrey and his entourage planned to wipe out Ontario Harness Racing and replace it with bingo parlours and casinos. The 401 and other major roadways should have been blocked with horse trailers etc to get the message across that these deviants were trying to wipe out a prospering industry. It's not too late!

February 13, 2013 - 8:02 pmThis is just the beginning...

Bob Colbert SAID...

This is just the beginning... Under the current model layoffs, reduced racing dates and reduced purses are going to happen. This is an not the fault of WEG its the fault of the goverment and you can be sure they will spin this to blame the racing industry. Now the spiral effects begins. Everything from stables being reduced, employees laid off, farms reducing breeding their employees laid off and then the suppliers feel the effect and they do same and so on and so on...

February 13, 2013 - 5:20 pmOnce the tracks have thier

Jim Singer SAID...

Once the tracks have thier funding sorted out via OMAFRA, no doubt they will follow suit. It's going to be very tough to run an operation with a mix of lease money from OLG which will likely be 40% of what was received from SARP and transition cash.

This thing is on borrowed time, with much reflection needed from everyone.

February 13, 2013 - 4:38 pmNo doubt some of us in the

Dave Nicol SAID...

No doubt some of us in the horseracing industry thought we were too big to fail! This should be a wakeup call to all of us. If our biggest operator has been forced to downsize, what about the rest of us? I*m sick of all this doom and gloom each day. Am I as a small operation ready to give up? NO! More job losses no matter where we work is unacceptable for me. Do I blame WEG? No, this is the new reality. I*ll be at Hamilton City Hall Thurs.,How about you?

February 13, 2013 - 4:35 pmI HAVE HEARD THE LIBERALS say

Peggy Powell SAID...

I HAVE HEARD THE LIBERALS say time and time again that they have created thousands of jobs for Ontarians. Where are they now. This is only the begining of many thousands of jobs in the racing industry to be lost. Get ready Ontario. The unemployment and welfare lines are going to swell

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