Industry Reports

Woodbine Ent. CEO Spread too Thin, Reportedly Ready to Exit CFL

Jim Lawson has reportedly made the decision to put an end to his development in the Canadian Football League’s structure, as he would no longer be a Board Chairman. As it was reported by a source acquainted with the situation, the plan includes his stepping down at the end of this week, right after the Grey Cup game. Mr. Lawson pointed out that this would make it possible for him to focus on his work at Woodbine Entertainment.

There are times in one’s life when they have to make an important decision about the general direction they would develop in. Setting their priorities straight could guarantee success at the end of the day. Jim Lawson has reportedly decided to exit the Canadian Football League structure following years of being Board Chairman of the leading sports league.

Jim Lawson Exists Canadian Football League

For the time being, no official announcement has been issued publicly, but individuals well-acquainted with the Canadian Football League have reported that Mr. Lawson announced his decision in front of the Board of Governors of the sports league. This happened earlier this month, but he is all ready to make the official stepping down at the end of this one.

The Grey Cup is about to take place this Sunday with a battle between the Tiger-Cats and the Blue Bombers. Mr. Lawson is going to make the official announcement right after the highly-anticipated match. Projections are that he would devote more time to Woodbine Entertainment, Ontario’s horse racing leader, which is currently working on improving the local Standardbred and harness racing field.

Ever since 2015 he has been in the structure of the racing giant, a period, which saw Woodbine Racetrack and Woodbine Mohawk Park, thrive and prosper. Even though he is part of the Canadian Football League since 2013, his relationship with football in Canada dates back to his formative years. Mel Lawson was among the praised football players of the 1943 Grey Cup when the Hamilton Flying Wildcats emerged triumphantly.

Woodbine Entertainment Focuses on Expansion

Charles Lawson, his grandfather was also involved in the Hamilton Tiger-Cats history as he supported the merger of the Wildcats and Hamilton Tigers. In a sense, Jim Lawson has picked a rather symbolic time for his announcement, praising both his father and his grandfather in the process. Such a milestone moment called for recognition of Mr. Lawson as well. He received the 2019 Commissioner’s Award.

CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie stated that Mr. Lawson deserves the recognition because of his hard work and devotion to the football league. The iconic figure recently pointed out that something has to change in his lifestyle, as the horse racing field has become more demanding over the past few years. The two racetracks, Ontario’s horse racing development in general, as well as casino operation at Woodbine Racetrack have taken their toll on him.

In addition to that, Woodbine Racetrack is also working towards expansion. The casino expansion, proposed by Ontario Gaming GTA, is expected to immediately create hundreds of jobs and bring in CA$31 million a year to the city coffers, but it also fuels a number of concerns, including risk of higher rates of problem gambling.