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Eaves Opens Up

Published: April 9, 2014 10:53 am ET

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Woodbine Entertainment Group President and CEO Nick Eaves has opened up in regard to the cancellation of the Slots-at-Racetracks program, the Province’s new funding agreement, and the future of the Ontario horse racing industry.

Eaves’ expansive comments have come via an article by the Toronto Sun.

Giving his opinion on the recently-announced five-year plan for the Ontario industry, Eaves said, “It can work for five years. It’s not a foundation for huge growth. It won’t catapult us into the next stage. Sustainability is better than the alternative. But we’re not here to sustain ourselves. We’re here to find a vibrant way forward.”

Eaves also said that the business model is more stable today, and that representatives from WEG will be returning to Toronto City Hall to renew its bid to land gaming expansion at Woodbine.

Speaking of the government’s financial support of the racing industry, Eaves said, “(The new money) does create a foundation,” but “in order for the industry to thrive again, there needs to be a broader economic envelope. The logical way is by making sure we integrate the horse-racing industry with the province’s gaming strategy, and do it in a way that meets the province’s objective, which is mostly financial, but also in a way that ensures this industry can not only survive, but thrive.”

In the Sun piece, Eaves stressed that the new agreement is “not a return to the type of partnership (SARP) that existed previously ... it certainly has given us some longer-term stability which is what the industry needs,” said Eaves, who went on to say “We need to use that as a platform and identify the next areas of revenue growth; to work with the OLG and work on a strategy to modernize gaming, including at racetracks.”

(With files from the Toronto Sun)

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