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Eaves On WEG Handle, Offshore Betting

Published: April 3, 2009 11:56 pm ET

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With an increase in wagering over the first three months of the year compared to the same period one year ago, Woodbine Entertainment Group’s president and chief operating officer, Nick Eaves, is hopeful that Woodbine will maintain its growth as the thoroughbred season begins.

Eaves told the Globe and Mail that wagering on live standardbred racing alone at Woodbine has increased by 10.5 per cent while wagering on live standardbred pools from all sources, including the United States, soared by 19 per cent - although part of that number resulted from currency exchange as the U.S. dollar is worth more against the Canadian dollar than it was last year.

Eaves attributes the increase in part to additional race dates. He also says that bettors who left years ago to wager at offshore operations are returning the Woodbine windows.

"A few of those illegal, unlicensed operators have folded as the global economy has done what it's done and customer accounts have been frozen," Eaves said. "Customers haven't been able to get their money out."

Eaves told the Globe and Mail that customers are "realizing that it's safer to do business with a land-based, accountable, licensed, tax-paying, regulated company such as ours."

"We've been frustrated by the absolute lack of accountability around these illegal operators. There's been no effort put forward, either from regulators or law enforcement to do anything about it. Now the economy is, in a way, shining a light on the face that it's a risk to deal with unlicensed, unregulated operators."

To read the Globe and Mail article in its entirety, click here.

(With files from the Globe and Mail)

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