Wagering Fell 7.3%, Purses Down 6.1% in 2010
Wagering on Thoroughbred racing in the United States fell 7.3% and purses declined 6% in 2010, continuing the trends seen in recent years as the industry remains mired in recession.
According to the Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators released by Equibase, commingled wagering on all U.S. racing last year totaled $11.4 billion, compared with $12.3 billion in 2009. U.S. purses totaled $1.02 billion in 2010, down 6.1% from $1.09 billion the previous year.
Equibase reported that the number of live race days--individual programs at each track--in 2010 fell 7.7%, from 5,933 in 2009 to 5,473 in 2010.
Putting the numbers in perspective, National Thoroughbred Racing Association president and CEO Alex Waldrop said the 2010 totals appeared directly related to the cutbacks in live racing days.
When compared with 2007, when betting totaled $14.7 billion, the 2010 figures reflect a decline of 22.5%.
While still down, the decline in U.S. wagering last year represented an improvement over the previous year-to-year period. Equibase reported wagering in 2009 fell 9.9% and purses declined by 2.3% when compared with 2008.
The U.S. racing industry closed out 2010 with total December handle of $679 million, down 9.3% from the $748.7 million figure for December 2009. December live race days fell 5.4% to 314 from 332, and purses declined 3.7% to $56.5 million from $58.7 million.
Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators
December 2010 vs. December 2009
Annual 2010 vs. Annual 2009
"While these numbers are no cause for celebration, it seems that this year’s wagering drop was much more a function of the decline in racing days--compared to 2009 when wagering declined 9.8% and race days were down only 2.6%," Waldrop said in a statement.
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