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More than 100 jobs cut at Woodbine, Mohawk racetracks

More than 100 full-time employees have been laid off at Woodbine and Mohawk racetracks, Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) announced Wednesday.

In a release WEG said “109 salaried positions and a significant number of hourly positions” have been axed in an effort “to reduce costs and achieve efficiencies…”

The layoffs impact “the entire organization, from the executive offices to frontline employees,” the release said.

A number of jobs will also “be converted to seasonal and the amount of hourly work available will be reduced.”

“Today is a very difficult day for Woodbine Entertainment Group,” said Nick Eaves, president and CEO of WEG.

“The people we are saying goodbye to have helped build WEG into a world-class horse racing and entertainment company.”

News of the layoffs comes after an announcement in January that the provincial government would provide transition funding to ensure races continue at Woodbine and Mohawk over the next two years.

Last March, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. (OLG) announced a series of new initiatives meant to modernize the agency and boost profits — including stopping annual payments of $345 million to the horse racing industry by halting the Slots at Racetracks program on March 31.

WEG says that despite the newly announced funding from the government, it’s not enough to make up for the elimination of the Slots program.

“While the company recently announced new transitional agreements with the Ontario government and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), the revenue from those agreements will be significantly less than WEG earned through the Slots-at-Racetracks partnership.”