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WEG's Eaves: no harness at Woodbine bad idea

July 16, 2013

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Nick Eaves, CEO of Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG), recently discussed the Ontario Horse Racing Industry Transition Panel plan and told Dave Briggs of The Canadian Sportsman that he has serious problems with some of its recommendations.

His number one objection is the panel's proposal that WEG share its revenues with other members of the racing industry. Eaves told Briggs WEG has, "no interest in… moving into a new model which has us transferring our hard-earned economics somewhere else.”

WEG takes in about 77 cents of every dollar wagered on harness racing in Ontario (and about 73 cents of every dollar bet in the country). WEG has also made substantially larger investments in racing than other companies in the province with its premier online and telephone account betting system (HorsePlayer Interactive) and an extensive, physical teletheatre network in the Greater Toronto Area.

Eaves also said he doesn't agree that harness racing should be discontinued at Woodbine, as the Transition Panel proposes. "I think it would be a mistake to take live standardbred racing out of the Toronto market where the vast majority of people are,” Eaves said. "I don't think a customer suggested that. I don't think anybody said, ‘Live racing at Woodbine in the Toronto market is failing. The total pools don't cut it.' I don't think a full assessment was undertaken.”

Click here to read more of Eaves' interview with Briggs.

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