Woodbine Entertainment Announces Departure of Its CEO

This week, Woodbine Entertainment announced that in the fall of 2023, its Chief Executive Officer, Jim Lawson, will be stepping down from the position. Ontario’s leading operator did not disclose the exact date yet for the departure of the 64-year-old Mr. Lawson. However, there is an expectation that he will still remain associated with the group in a new role.

Mr. Lawson has been in the position of CEO since April 2015, but prior to that he also served as CFL board chairman from 2013 to 2019 and twice acted as interim league commissioner. In 2018, he was elected as chairman of the board by the directors of the Ontario Racing Commission while also operating as Chairman of the Jockey Club of Canada from 2010 to 2015.

Saying Goodbyes

The CEO gave a few words on his upcoming departure, he said that heading the organization had been a tremendous honour and passion for him. He added that on a personal level, he has fully enjoyed his time leading the horse racing operator while also saying he is grateful for the incredible people that had the honour of having to work with.

He claimed that during his time at the operator, the organization turned into a multi-dimensional entity, which expanded its scope and reputation as a leader in dual-breed horse racing. Meanwhile, he explained that the organization’s drive for revenue has helped support Ontario’s horse racing sector in the long run. He is also optimistic about the organization’s strong and sustainable future.

During his term as CEO, one of the most difficult obstacles for him was to guide the industry through the unprecedented situation of 2020 which cause massive race cancellations, delays, and restrictions on the sport. Fortunately for the organization, he was able to maximize Woodbine’s 700 acres of land which were always on his agenda.

It was recently announced that a CA$1-billion modern Vegas-style casino is on course to launch in close proximity to Woodbine Racetrack in the summer of 2023. It will be branded as Great Canadian Casino Resort Toronto and as the name suggests it will be operated by Great Canadian Entertainment. Besides gambling it will also feature a 400-room hotel, a 5,000-seat live entertainment venue, and several dining amenities.

In addition to that, last year, Mr. Lawson also announced that the horse racing operator will also work on developing a soccer stadium and training facility on its land. The plan was on schedule to be completed in 2023. The new venues would be located at the company’s property within walking distance from its track and stretch over 38,000 square feet of the ground and it would comply with all FIFA standards.

Expressing Gratitude

Hugh Mitchell, the chair of Woodbine’s board of directors, thanked Mr. Lawson for his service on behalf of the board. He praised the CEO on his strong, unwavering and impactful leadership to both the organization and the Ontario horse racing industry in the last 15 years. Now, the group’s Succession Committee is working on finding a suitable candidate.

Source: “Woodbine Entertainment CEO Jim Lawson to step down from his postGlobalNews, April 11, 2023

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Yolina has followed closely the latest development on the Canadian gaming scene over the past years, monitoring the land-based, lottery, and online offerings up for grabs. The dynamic nature of the local lottery and casino fields, as well as the opportunities lying ahead of Canada fire her enthusiasm for what is to come. A sports betting enthusiast, in her spare time Yolina could be found in her natural habitat – turning the pages of biographies and catching up on the latest stand-up comedy podcasts.