Attendance, Handle Soar at Saratoga
Updated: Thursday, August 2, 2001 12:03 PM
Posted: Thursday, August 2, 2001 12:03 PM
With attendance up 12 percent and overall handle showing a 17 percent increase during the first six days of the Saratoga meet, New York Racing Association officials are extolling the virtues of the new takeout law that went into effect in mid-July.
As a result of the law, the amount of money taken out of each wagering dollar for purses, taxes, and track expenses was cut from 15 percent to 14 percent on straight bets (win, place and show), from 20 percent to 17.5 percent on multiple bets (exactas, doubles and quinellas), and from 25 percent to 20 percent for the Pick Six on non-carryover days.
Attendance for the first six days of the 36-day Saratoga totaled 174,495, almost 19,000 more than the same period last year. On-track handle at Saratoga was $18,727,338, more than $2.7 million more than the first six days in 2000.
"The best example of the benefits of the takeout reduction is evident with our on-track handle," said New York Racing Association senior vice president Bill Nader. "A 17 percent increase speaks for itself."
The meet began on a positive note, with an opening-day attendance record of 31,254. On-track handle of $3,567,244 and the total handle of $14,518,176 that day were also opening-day records for Saratoga. The fan who had the only winning Pick Six ticket on the race card that day received an immediate windfall. The patron, whose ticket was worth $45,943, got an extra $2,871 because of the reduced takeout.
The total handle for all sources is up 6.6 percent to $87,167,336 during the meet, a figure impacted by an increase in the number of simulcast signals that are available to New York off-track betting operations; in the past, Saratoga had little competition.
"Because of the decreased amount of handle generated by the six regional New York OTB corporations, the increase in total handle is not a true reflection of the takeout reduction," Nader said.
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