Being an 'OJC' regular since I was a wee tyke (ok, since I was 18 because betting before then is illegal and we wouldn't want that) I have seen this franchise evolve. Most of it in terms of horseplayer respect has happened over the last several years. Back in the late 1980's there was not a telephone in the place - those evil bookies I guess - and you were generally herded in to play the game of monopoly. With nowhere else to go, you went to distribute your money, and come home. Then the next day do it all over again. I never received a perk in all those years, other than getting in free if I had a horse racing on the circuit. It is the only business in existence that one would fund to the tune of millions over the years, where you never even got a free program in return.
Times have changed.
Heading to Woodbine last night a friend and I headed up to Champions (the rooftop patio/bar), walked in for free. The very good concierge fellow Neil met us with a smile, handed us free programs and sat us down. We chose a table by the wall because it had a plug-in nearby and both of us had laptops. Yes, you are allowed to bring laptops there and not only can you bring them, you can use them to connect wirelessly to the internet. Understandably some sites are blocked, but you can log into BRIS if you are downloading data, as well as many, many regular websites. In addition, you can bet on HPIbets right on your browser.
There are several tracks doing this now, but Woodbine was one of the first.
For American readers who are dedicated horseplayers and might be heading up here for a race or two, bring your laptop if you want to. Horseplaying is welcomed, and if you have not been here for awhile, Woodbine has changed and given us a much better experience than we might have been used to.