Woodbine Reaction to Industry Review Panel Report
June 25, 2008
« Return to News
Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG), the largest operator of horse racing in Canada, has issued a statement regarding its reaction to the Ontario government\'s Industry Review Panel report, commissed last summer and released on Tuesday.
WEG\'s statement reads: \"A healthy horse racing industry is dependent, first and foremost, on the financial viability of racetracks which provide the venue for the racing product. With respect to the report, It\'s All about Leadership Strategic Vision and Direction for the Ontario Horse Racing and Breeding Industry, Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) believes that while there are some interesting and thought-provoking suggestions, its recommendations are entirely impractical, unrealistic and unworkable from a financial perspective. Racetracks simply would not be able to internally finance their operations or obtain bank financing.\"
David Willmot, WEG\'s chairman and CEO, issued the following statement: \"The report recognized WEG\'s flagship role in the Ontario horse racing industry. Ironically, if the recommendations were implemented, WEG would immediately lapse into a substantial loss position. As a not-for-profit company financed entirely by debt, WEG would breach its banking covenants and would not be able to obtain future financing. Notwithstanding that the report is well intentioned in attempting to provide a strategic direction for the Ontario Horse Racing and Breeding Industry, the effect of its recommendations would devastate the second largest agricultural sector in the Province, which generates 55,000 jobs.\"
The press release also stated that WEG \"looks forward to working with the Government on strategies which will ensure the long-term viability of this significant industry.\"
The 80-page Industry Review Panel report, prepared by a three-man team headed by former Ontario Racing Commission chairman and law professor Stanley Sadinsky, can be read by clicking here.