Willmot Sounds Off

Published: May 31, 2010 10:00 am EDT

Stakes action took centre stage this past weekend in the harness racing world, but what seemingly flew under the radar was an article by The Globe And Mail in which outgoing Woodbine Entertainment Group CEO David Willmot sounded off on a variety of topics


The theme of Willmot's comments was that racetracks are plagued by partisan politics and overregulation. In the article, Willmot cited the recent state loan to the New York Racing Association; the uncertainty surrounding New York City Off-Track Betting; the long, drawn-out situation in regard to getting a lucrative racino up and running at Aqueduct, and the mystifying lack of state support for the Kentucky horse racing industry.

The article comes to a close with Willmot commenting on WEG's dealings with the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency, which he says is very by-the-book, and to a fault. He claims that the CPMA's stringent adherence to its rules disallows tracks from trying new things, including a 'jackpot bet.'

“In every day, dealing with [the CPMA], it’s painful to the extent they seem reluctant to consider new forms of distribution, new forms of account wagering, new bet types – more interesting products to the customer,” Willmot was quoted as saying.

According to the article, Willmot stated that anybody can walk into a convenience store and buy a lottery ticket, providing only proof of age. “You can blow every cent to your name buying lottery tickets and no one is even going to ask you your name,” Willmot said.

But punters trying to register a wagering account with a track must “jump through hoops” to get one. The online form asks for name, gender, birth date, address, home, business and cellphone numbers, social insurance and driver’s licence numbers.

(With files from The Globe And Mail)



i agree whole heartedly with mr. willmots statements.the industry as a whole is severely under scrutiny from the public sector as well as the governments.i feel quite certain that if the major stakes or cup events were allowed to be wagered on in the form of pro-line betting some new players would get involved with the sport.people play pro-line just to ahve something to bet on!when you look into the take-out by the provincial gov't and then add on the pro-line take-out, they are missing the boat and the average person is not aware of the amounts taken.

why is the cpma so unaware? everything changes with the times but these tunnel-visioned people involved with this industry's regulating body.i guess they cannot see the missing revenue caused by the non-smoking laws and drinking laws that they really need to take hold and change our playing field to compete with the lotteries, casinos, etc.such a shame the industry is going down the tubes as they just stand there and watch it go!they don't even wave good-bye!

I read this article with great interest...very insightful especially coming from WEG's outgoing CEO...unfortunately my feeling of hopelessness regarding the future of the industry was kicked up another level...sad

Mr Willmot and Wayne Isbister are right on.The CPMA has been a roadblock in improving racetrack wagering for years,and when you bring up the idea of change with people in the industry, they use the lame excuse we can not do that because of the CPMA.We brought in exoctic wagering without any change in the minimum stake structure.Ironically the bulk of sports betting in North America is even money betting on hockey football basketball and baseball with the house taking 10 percent,racing offers triactors were the odds are thousands to one yet the minimum bet is a dollar it should be 10 cents, but try to tell that to CPMA.Racing has cleaned out the small bettors and it will be a job getting them back,if are to succeed we must change the stake format 5 cent superfectas 10 cent triactors and 20 cent exactors,and win3 and 4.The majority of superfecta bets at Fraser Downs are 20 cent wagers which is an indication of what the public wants.Unless we fix this problem and quickly horseracing is finished

I agree totally with Mr Wilmott. First trying to bet with your phone on HPI is near impossible. Make a mistake and look out you start all over again. I quit using my phone just too much trouble. Why they cant make a simpler system or go to real people for operators. The computer system seems to work okay. HPI takes I believe 5% off all bets you think they could have a system that people could use and enjoy.
You can buy a lotto ticket just about in any convience store in canada but try to make a bet on a horse. CPMA needs to get with the times and help horse racing in Canada grow, not hold us to methods used 40 years ago. Horse racing needs to take the signal to every blackberry, Iphone, and Ipad so people can bet. People are not coming to racetracks so we need to go to them.

Why do we need CPMA anyway? Four years ago they called for input into the future of pari-mutuel wagering. They conducted their study and nothing has happened. I put in my two cents worth in a submission and did not even get an acknowledgement never mind a copy of the study or even a summary of the recommendations.

As Mr Willmot notes the wagering business is hamstrung by regulations and the status quo. The lotteries are Provincially or regionally regulated - why not let them take charge of the wagering in the horse racing business too.

Here on PEI we are still waiting for Atlantic Lotto to get approval for on-line wagering. We have the facilities, the product and an excellent on-line show but can't seem to get a simple yes or no from CPMA.

The clock is ticking