Winter Events at Woodbine Mohawk Park Subject to Postponement
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Winter Events at Woodbine Mohawk Park Subject to Postponement

Winter Events at Woodbine Mohawk Park Subject to Postponement

Events being held at Woodbine Mohawk Park have been scarce ever since the pandemic broke. Sadly, it appears as though the situation will continue to persist until the vaccination process has been completed. Woodbine Park has been postponing events due to these uncertain times that we are living in now.

Case in point, the park was forced to cancel last years’ 4 winter series and its 2 series finale to a much later date as a result of the pandemic. Owing to the postponement, events that were meant to be held last year will now be concluded in March this year. For instance, the Family Day Trotting Series and Wine & Roses Trotting Series were just recently concluded on March 8th 2021 while the Blizzard Pacing events and the Snowshoe Pacing Series were completed soon after that.

Woodbine was forced to cancel its remaining thoroughbred racing season before the end of last year after comprehensive talks with government officials in Ontario. When officials placed Toronto on lockdown as part of the province’s response to the pandemic, horse racing was among one of the many events that were placed on the restricted activities list.

Although horses have been training in Woodbine, there haven’t been actual races held there until very recently. And even during the events held recently, live spectators were not allowed in the stands for understandable reasons. Even though the vaccination process has done a lot to alleviate many people’s fears, it is likely that the 2021 racing season- Standardbred as well as thoroughbred- will continue to experience setbacks owing to the global pandemic.

While horse racing fans will continue to experience disappointments owing to an interrupted meet, what horse racing, and the gambling industry in general has endured has not been a small feat.


Single game sports betting coming to Canada. Will horseracing be affected?

Things in single game sports betting in Canada seem to be moving along faster than many predicted or anticipated. According to experts, welcoming single events sports betting in the country could boost revenue for provincial governments by as much as 1 billion Canadian dollars. This helps to explain why Woodbine recently changed its tune to support single sports betting even though it was against its legalization at the beginning.

Legalizing single event wagering will be vital for provinces looking to capture the revenue that is currently being redirected to various offshore and unregulated online casinos. But more importantly, legalizing single events wagering will present even more opportunities for sporting institutions and clubs such as Woodbine. Indeed, the horseracing industry in particular, will benefit considerably from having a regulated system in place within the borders of Canada.

Sports betting will therefore help the horse racing business to expand its interests, instead of doing the opposite as earlier feared. Before giving support for single events betting, racetracks in the country had grown fearful that legalizing single events betting would have unintended severe consequences on the horse racing industry as a whole.


How will sports betting benefit the horse racing industry in Canada?

Under the law, punters are currently prohibited from wagering on single sporting events. As such, changes must be made to the Criminal Code in order for this to happen. The planned changes to the sports betting laws will allow provinces to issue licenses for entities to accept wagers on all sporting events. The good news is that horse racing will be exempt, meaning the industry will not be severely affected by the proposed changes in the industry.

For years, Woodbine has operated single event betting via a pari-mutuel system, thus earning the trust of millions of bettors nationwide. Since the government made this clarification earlier on this year, parties in the horse racing industry including Woodbine Entertainment have since come out to show full support for Bill c-218. 

Because fixed odds wagering will not be allowed on horse races, the horse racing market has no reason to object to the legalization of single event betting. In fact, the horse racing industry will soon start to realize the benefits of a fully legalized sports betting market. Just take a look across the pond in New Jersey and you will quickly realize that sports betting and horse races are symbiotic and in many cases go hand in hand.

Like America, all that Canadian authorities have to do is create a betting ecosystem where both horse tracks and sportsbooks are involved in single events sports betting. To encourage cross over participation, horse tracks in the different provinces should be allowed to offer a combination of wagers which will encourage even more participation from bettors.

If you take a closer look at other international markets apart from America where horse racing has performed exemplary, you will discover that there is some form of sports betting allowed. For example, in Australia, the industry was facing a steep decline a decade or so ago because of the pari-mutuel based system. It is only when the country decriminalized sports betting that there was a real shift observed.

A legalized sports betting market will definitely go a long way in luring in recreational punters that would never otherwise consider wagering on horse races. The same will be true for horse racing enthusiasts that have never given sports betting a try. When such a symbiotic relationship exists between the two verticals, it will only help both industries scale and develop even further than they have in the past.

The sports betting industry will want to do its bets to educate punters as much as possible so that the punters can be informed of all the choices they have. Punter education will be vital for curbing problem gambling as well. Gambling on horse races isn’t very different from gambling on sports betting; operators in both industries just need to keep their fans entertained and growth should persist for years to come.

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