Luck runs out at Windsor Raceway slots today

At 6 p.m. Monday, the slot machines at Windsor Raceway will be unplugged for good.

Severance called 'fair, flexible' but not everyone will receive a package

Luck Has Run Out

11 years ago
Duration 0:17
Gamblers stream into Windsor Raceway on Monday for the day of slot machines on site.

Luck has run out at Windsor Raceway's slots facility. At 6 p.m. Monday, the slot machines will be unplugged for good.

It's a decision Ontario Lottery and Gaming made in March and the province approved in its budget earlier in April.

The slot machines in Sarnia and Fort Erie will also be removed.

In Windsor, it means about 250 people will lose their jobs.

"It is a difficult day for the staff and patrons at Windsor Raceway," OLG spokesperson Tony Bitonti said.

Bitonti said OLG has never before closed a slots facility.

Those employed by OLG will receive severance packages — better than the provincially legislated minimum, Bitonti said.

"We’ve provided them with what we believe are fair, flexible and quite supportive severance packages,"Bitonti said.

Out-of-work employees have also been given use of a resource centre and skills enhancement workshop.

The workers, who are not represented by a union, also have their alcohol and gaming licences, but that doesn't mean they can immediately transfer to Caesars Windsor, where the CAW represents employees.

"They will be the first in line to get a crack at [new] jobs. But there is nothing we can do to transfer them to other sites right now," Bitonti said.

Food and beverage workers who are contracted by OLG to provide service at the slots at Windsor Raceway do not have the same severance packages or opportunities.

"Food and beverage work is contracted out. Sadly, our focus has to be on our employees," Bitonti said.

Decommissioning of the site will take several weeks, Bitonti said.

"Removing more than 750 machines will take quite a while," Bitonti said.

The closure had gamblers lamenting OLG's decision Monday.

Several people who spoke to CBC News on Monday said the raceway slots provided a nice meeting place for seniors and retirees.

"I’m very sad. This is where you go to talk to people," said Nancy Toplenicki, who won't visit Caesars Windsor instead. " We tried that. It’s not friendly. It’s not the same. You can talk to people here. It’s so busy at Caesars  - and noisy."