Ontario horse-racing track operator Woodbine Entertainment Group has been forced to cut hundreds of positions after losing their profits from slot machines.
The company announced that they are cutting 109 full-time positions as well as a significant of casual positions.
Woodbine said the cuts were required because of a loss in revenue due to the decision of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation to no longer share slot machine revenue with the track.
Woodbine Chief Executive Nick Eaves said he was devastated to have to say goodbye to so many loyal employees.
“Today is a very difficult day for Woodbine Entertainment Group,” Eaves said in a statement.
“The people we are saying goodbye to have helped build WEG into a world-class horse-racing and Entertainment Company.”
Local Ontario politician Tim Hudak has been fighting to get the slot machine profits reinstated to racetracks and attacked the government for letting more jobs leave the province.
“We have already lost jobs in every corner of the province,” Hudak said.
“The government should be fighting to create jobs not mowing down 65,000 more jobs in this industry.”
Ontario resident Jessica Vitullo said she was worried for the future of people in the horseracing industry who have never worked in another sector.
“I think it is a catastrophe third and fourth generation horse people haven’t known anything else but this, their whole life and they won’t be able to do anything else,” Vitullo said.
Sue Leslie, President Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association, said the only hope for the horse racing industry is to replace the revenue from the slot machines.
“The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation must approve a casino at Woodbine with shared revenues otherwise the industry is finished,” Leslie said.
Source: The Globe and Mail