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Update On Western Fair Negotiations

Published: April 16, 2018 10:13 am ET

Last Comment: April 16, 2018 2:56 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

The Western Fair District was in the news late last week, as a mainstream media outlet published an item that provided an update on the London, Ont. raceway and entertainment facility.

In the article, which appeared in the London Free Press, Hugh Mitchell, the Western Fair District’s chief executive, said that the complex is committed to retaining and expanding casino gaming on its premises, despite the fact that negotiations surrounding the future of gaming at the location have stalled.

Citing officials with Gateway Casinos & Entertainment, the London Free Press piece explains that Gateway, which operates the casino gaming on the premises, has grown frustrated with the negotiations. The gaming company retains the right to relocate its gaming facility to another location, which is something that Gateway is still considering.

“We are not making progress. We are a year behind in London,” Gateway Casino and Entertainment spokesman Rob Mitchell told the London Free Press. “We wanted to purchase land at the Western fairgrounds, but that offer has been rejected. We are still in negotiations, but we are aggressively pursuing other options in the London area.”

Western Fair’s Mitchell has said that the entertainment district is “working with Gateway to ensure the gaming operation stays here, but we want it to be synergistic with other operations.”

The article also states that Gateway has offered “voluntary exit incentives” to each of its roughly 250 employees that work at the Western Fair gaming operation. Commenting on the ‘incentives,’ Gateway’s Mitchell said that his company wants “to grow and expand in London,” but that it is “constrained in the size and scope of what we can deliver there (at the Western Fair District). So, this is an effort to right-size the facilities we currently have.”

Western Fair’s Mitchell has told the London Free Press that similar employee downsizing measures have taken place at other casino gaming locations in Ontario that have been purchased by private operators. “I think that’s what we are witnessing and this is consistent across all gaming sites,” Mitchell said.

It is also expected that, in the next few weeks, London City Council will vote on a resolution to support the expansion of gaming. A ‘yes’ vote is needed from the council in order for any type of gaming expansion in the area to move forward.

(With files from the London Free Press)

April 16, 2018 - 2:56 pmThe horse racing industry's

terry gudz SAID...

The horse racing industry's hands are tied to political elections and negotiations.


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