Woodbine Implements Personnel Reductions

Restructuring is result of reduced revenues under new transitional agreements.

Woodbine Entertainment Group announced Feb. 13 it has instituted a significant restructuring of its operating model and will reduce its work force by 109 salaried positions and a significant number of hourly positions.

In a release, WEG said the move was due to the new transitional agreements with the Ontario government and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation that will result in less revenue than WEG earned through the Slots-at-Racetracks partnership.

"As a result, WEG has had to take steps to reduce costs and achieve efficiencies through the implementation of a new operating model," WEG said in the release. "WEG's operating model, both on-track and off-track, will be realigned to better reflect the new agreements with government and the OLG and its recently announced reduced race schedule.

"In addition, internal operations are being downsized or amalgamated to align with these new financial realities. The changes implemented today will result in the reduction of some services at Woodbine and Mohawk racetracks. The employee impact goes through the entire organization, from the executive offices to front-line employees."

In a statement, WEG president and CEO Nick Eaves said the decisions to cut employees was difficult.

"Today is a very difficult day for Woodbine Entertainment Group," Eaves said. "The people we are saying goodbye to have helped build WEG into a world-class horse racing and entertainment company. As we confront these difficult but necessary changes to our company, we remain committed to delivering a superior experience to our customers and demonstrating vital leadership to the Ontario horse racing industry to ensure its long-term sustainability."

"This restructuring of our operations is absolutely necessary to ensure the viability of our business during this period of transition," WEG chairman Jim Lawson said. "WEG and its government partners must continue to work together in order to achieve the only sustainable solution--the integration of horse racing into Ontario's overall gaming strategy, which needs to include expanded gaming, operated by WEG, at Woodbine and Mohawk racetracks."