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Woodbine Entertainment Reopens Tracks for Spectators

Woodbine Entertainment has great news for the horse racing fans in Ontario, as the company has just announced that live audiences will be soon allowed at the tracks. The horse racing leader revealed that starting from Canada Day its tracks Woodbine Racetrack and Woodbine Mohawk Park will welcome back fans at 25% maximum capacity.

The reopening of live harness tracks for fans is possible after Ontario announced that the province will be moving to Stage 2 of the reopening plan next Wednesday. This will be the first time since the beginning of the unprecedented situation that fans are allowed to enjoy the horse races in person and it is certainly reason for more celebrations on July 1.

Fans Returning

CEO of Woodbine Entertainment Jim Lawson said that the return of fans at the track is a reason for excitement for the whole live harness industry in the province. The leader of the company stated that a huge part of horse racing is being able to witness it live and it is not the same experience online despite the company’s premium broadcasting services and products.

Mr. Lawson said that the tracks will be operating at a 25% fans capacity and that patio dining will also be available at both tracks. However, fans who would like to attend the dining venues must first make a reservation. Additionally, guests will have to comply with the government protocols of wearing a face mask before entering the facility or leaving their table.

As of right now remains unclear who many individuals will be allowed to enter the tracks with the 25% capacity, stated Mr. Lawson. He said that the company is still trying to figure seating out at both tracks, but he believes that it will be in the thousands. The CEO believes that as the vaccination rate goes well the 25% capacity will be the bare minimum for attending fans and expects the limit to be increased soon.

DAZN Collab

In addition to the return of fans, Woodbine Entertainment has also announced a brand-new collaboration with DAZN Canada, which will be a Thoroughbred racing series named DAZN Day at the Races. The live racing events will start off on June 26th at 3 p.m. ET and it will feature races from Woodbine Racetrack, Belmont Park, Delaware Park, and Churchill Downs. The series will be broadcasted exclusively on DAZN online platform.

Pleased with Bill C-218

This week the Canadian Senate successfully passed Bill C-218, which will legalize single-event sports wagering in the country. In light of the events, Mr. Lawson stated that he is very pleased with Woodbine Entertainment’s position in the new soon-to-be law. The CEO believes that thanks to the company’s experience in single-event betting it could provide crucial expertise for the gaming industry.

Schedule Update

Previously, the horse racing leader provided an update on its slightly-altered Thoroughbred stakes calendar at its Woodbine Racetrack. The company revealed that most major events will be able to maintain their original date for the season, despite the delayed start of the season. But for example, the CA$500,000 Woodbine Oaks sponsored by Budweiser will be moved from July 25 to August 1. The full schedule can be found on the company’s official website.

Source: Ralph, Dan “Woodbine Racetrack to allow spectators at 25 per cent capacity starting Canada DayCBC, June 24, 2021