Total handle on Thoroughbred racing in the United States and Canada increased by only 0.9% in 2003, according to the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Equibase.
Hastings Park recently concluded its 2004 meet with a minor dip in on-track handle figures, and an 8.5% drop in all-source handle.
Changes in first post time and fuller fields have produced pari-mutuel gains this season for Portland Meadows, which on Dec. 1 cleared the half-million-dollar mark in total handle for a program for the first time in 15 years.
A study to be released out of Maryland Wednesday says there is little evidence racetrack business significantly declines if slot machines are housed at locations other than racetracks.
The Woodlands, in Kansas City, Kansas, just completed its most successful meet in recent history. The track registered gains in live and off-track handle, as well as attendance, following its 30-day mixed meet which ran from Sept. 23 through Nov. 1.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick -- In an age of telephone and Internet betting and rebates the price of the signal must be re-examined.
Continuing to build on its increased distribution, TVG's handle on Saturday, the day of the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, was $3,362,026, 31.1% higher than on Breeders' Cup day in 2002.
The 2003 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships was a record-setter in terms of handle, both on track at Santa Anita Park and throughout the world via simulcasting. Meanwhile, despite several longshots, there was one winning ticket worth more than $2.6 million in the Breeders' Cup Ultra Pick 6.
Total wagering during the third quarter of the year increased to $4,007,591,917, a growth of 3.38% over the same quarter last year. Third-quarter purses dipped 4.15%, to $306,800,417. Compared with third-quarter 2002, racing days declined slightly, with a total of 16 fewer days.
Though handle was down for its most recent racing season, the Hong Kong Jockey Club remains optimistic in the wake of product expansion, including wagering on soccer games, the organization's top official said Aug. 28 during the club's annual general meeting.
Bucking the current industry trend, Les Bois Park finished up its 2003 live racing season with on-track increases for both attendance and total money wagered.
Wagering in North America during the second quarter of the year increased 2.52% over the corresponding period in 2002. But, while there were 32 more racing days, purses dropped 1%.
The total amount of money wagered on races at the recently concluded 10-day San Joaquin County Fair meet at Stockton, Calif. increased 10% to a record $16.95 million, officials reported.
A single-day on-track Belmont Stakes day wagering record was established Saturday at Belmont Park before the second largest crowd in the track's history, 101,864, and steady rainfall for the 135th running of the Test of the Champion.
With business lagging behind by about 7% compared with last year, officials at Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie are contemplating a purse cut as the racetrack nears the midway point of its 70-date racing season.
Total handle on the May 17 Preakness Stakes Day program at Pimlico Race Course topped $60 million for the third consecutive year, but it was down 9.5% from last year, according to figures released May 21 by the Maryland Jockey Club.
The National Jockey Club at Hawthorne Race Course spring meet posted business gains when compared with the comparable meet held at Sportsman's Park in 2002.
Tampa Bay Downs racing is growing in popularity as evidenced by a 22% increase in total handle during the 93-day that ended May 4. Total handle of $237,158,919 was up about $44 million from the 2001-2002 season.
Wagering Friday on Kentucky Oaks Day was up both on and off track, Churchill Downs officials announced.
World Thoroughbred Championships at Arlington Park totaled $116,367,198, establishing an all-time record Breeders' Cup handle.
Keeneland completed its 2002 fall meet Oct. 26 with increases in most categories, including total pari-mutuel handle.
Reduced takeout has been credited with attracting more than $200 million in commingled handle to the New York Racing Association's three racetracks so far this year.
The TV Games Network has experienced explosive growth since California adopted advanced deposit wagering last January.
Youbet.com handled a record $16.7 million for the month of August.
August was not only dry along the Jersey Shore, but also at Monmouth Park's mutuel windows.
After 12 racing days of Del Mar's 43-day season, attendance and handle figures show solid advances over the same period last season.
Excitement surrounding a fourth attempt at the Triple Crown title in six years, reduced takeout, and good weather are credited with helping Belmont Park establish across-the-board increases in attendance and handle.
The Virginia track ended its meet with increases in attendance and handle.
Total handle dropped 4% and attendance declined 13% for the 2001-02 Hong Kong racing season that ended June 16.
New York City Off-Track Betting Corp. had the second-biggest day in its history on June 8, Belmont Stakes Day, with total handle of $7,850,099.
New York Racing Association officials expected Belmont Stakes Day to be big, but what they got by the end of the day blew everyone away.
Hawthorne Race Course's spring meet continued to provide a popular turf racing "bridge" between winter/spring meets at Fair Grounds and Oaklawn Park, and the meet that just began at Arlington Park.
Hawthorne Race Course's ended its 23-day spring meet with double digit increases in average on-track, full card, and total all-sources handle.
Growth in simulcast wagering helped stabilize Turf Paradise's average daily handle and attendance even though the Phoenix area racetrack ran two more days than it did during its 2000-01 meet.
The total all-sources handle for the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) reached $71,468,223, a 14% increase over last year, according to the Maryland Jockey Club.
Youbet.com broke its single-day handle record of $1 million following the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) on May 18.
Gloomy weather depressed on-track wagering for the 127th Preakness Stakes (gr. I), but interest in the race around the country helped Pimlico Race Course set several wagering records.
Good weather and lower takeout were credited with producing double digit increases in average attendance and significant gains in average on-track handle at Aqueduct.
The TV Games Network is enjoying record growth due to the opening of Hollywood Park, the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), and an increasing popularity in Quarter Horse racing at Los Alamitos.
Tampa Bay Downs concluded its 76th anniversary season of Thoroughbred racing May 5th with handle its live races from all-sources averaging nearly $2.1 million per day. The previous high was 1.8 million per day during the 1999-2000 season.
Keeneland achieved several wagering records during its 16-day spring meet that ended April 26.
Gulfstream Park ended its meet April 24 with handle and attendance numbers significantly down from a year ago.
Good weather and the introduction of account wagering helped Santa Anita Park exceed $1 billion in total handle for the third time in five years.
Sam Houston Race Park ended its 82-day Thoroughbred meet with an increase in attendance but a decrease in on-track wagering.
More than $14.5 million has been wagered through California's advance deposit wagering system in the first two months of operation, or about 3.5% of total handle. But while account wagering services had a burst of activity, officials said they were concerned about the leveling off of wagering and the number of new account holders over the past four weeks.
Fair Grounds reported across-the-board declines in attendance and handle for its 89-day meet that ended Monday.
Keeneland, which last fall experimented with a reduced 16 percent pari-mutuel takeout, has made adjustments for its spring meet, which begins April 5. The takeout for win, place, and show wagers will remain 16 percent, but for exotic bets, it will go back up to 19 percent.
Gross purses rose 3.6% and pari-mutuel handle increased 1.6% in the United States for 2001, setting records in both catagories, according to the 12th edition of "The Jockey Club Fact Book," released online today.
Oaklawn Park's three-day opening weekend lured more than 45,000 patrons for what officials at the Hot Springs, Ark., racetrack said was one of the strongest meet kick-offs in the past 10 years.
Expanded distribution of Woodbine Entertainment Group's Thoroughbred and harness races and larger fields generated by higher purses helped increase the company's total handle for the year by 11.1%. The all sources handle for Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing was a record $1.36 billion.
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