Woodbine Extending Casino Hours; To Be Open 24 Hours on Weekends

Woodbine Entertainment will soon have its slot machine casinos open around the clock on Fridays and Saturdays beginning April 1. The Toronto area racetrack also will extend its hours of operation during the rest of the week by two hours a day.

"As many as 2,500 people are sent home at 3 a.m. on a Friday and Saturday," said David Gorman, Woodbine Entertainment's vice president of corporate affairs. "That's a lot of money to leave on the table."

The extended hours should significantly affect purses, which have already increased 60% at Woodbine Race Course since it introduced 1,700 slot machines in March 2000. Woodbine Entertainment also owns Mohawk Raceway, a harness track that offers 750 slot machines. Woodbine Entertainment receives about 20% of the net win from its slot operations, which are owned and operated by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission. Woodbine then splits its share 50:50 with horsemen. The slot machines contributed nearly $29 million (U.S.$18.7 million) to Woodbine's purses last year.

Under the new schedule, Woodbine and Mohawk will open its casino at 9 a.m. instead of 11 a.m. and stay open until 3 a.m. Monday through Thursday. On Friday and Saturday the casino floor will be open for 24 hours, closing at 3 a.m. on Monday.