An experiment by a New York racetrack to lower pari-mutuel takeout in the hope of increasing handle was approved March 26 by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board.
An executive with RaceTech, the company that produces Instant Racing machines, said the product has held up well against electronic games of skill at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas.
An upstate New York harness track announced March 11 it wants to reduce pari-mutuel takeout rates to the state minimum in response to calls from horseplayers.
- By Tom LaMarra
A steep drop in the number of race days contributed to double-digits declines in pari-mutuel handle and purses in February.
River Downs, which anticipates further erosion of pari-mutuel revenue this year, has asked the Ohio Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association to consider a reduction in 2010 racing dates.
- By Tom LaMarra
Pari-mutuel handle in January 2009 was down only 1.56% from the same month in 2008, but this year, it took a substantial double-digit hit.
A surprisingly good night for business on a winter evening at Turfway Park doesn't hide the fact Kentucky's year-round Thoroughbred racing industry is in serious trouble.
Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots will reduce purses for overnight races by 9%, effective Jan. 31, and trim the value of 12 stakes.
Hialeah Park is entering the final two weeks of its first Quarter Horse meet with pari-mutuel handle owner John Brunetti calls "a disappointment," and with a need to catch up on its guarantee of $4 million in purses.
A dispute over signal rates between TrackNet Media Group and 17 racetracks in the Mid-Atlantic region is a primary reason Gulfstream's interstate wagering handle was down about 15% through the first seven days of its meet.
The Oak Tree Racing Association, which for the second year in a row hosted the Breeders' Cup World Championships, reported double-digit declines in attendance and handle during the 31-day meet at Santa Anita Park that ended Nov. 8.
Canterbury Park Holding Corp., parent of Canterbury Park in Minnesota, reported a gain in income for the third quarter of 2009.
- By Tom LaMarra
With less than two months to go in 2009, total handle on United States Thoroughbred racing continues to be almost 11% less than the same period in 2008.
Delaware Park raced 27 fewer days this year but registered increases in total handle and average daily handle, track officials said Oct. 28.
A controversial recommendation to halt wagering at zero minutes to post time at all racetracks was shelved by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission Oct. 27 pending a public meeting at which the issue will be further vetted.
California Thoroughbred racetracks, subject to regulatory approval, could increase pari-mutuel takeout -- return less money to bettors -- and change how the revenue is distributed under legislation signed into law Oct. 23 by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Total handle through the five days of racing at Keeneland is up 9.83%, the Lexington racetrack announced Oct. 16.
Kentucky Downs concluded what became a three-day meet with declines in total pari-mutuel handle.
The North Dakota Horse Park reported strong gains in on-track business for a mixed meet that ended Sept. 7.
A shorter racing week helped Del Mar register gains in average daily attendance and pari-mutuel handle, the California racetrack reported Sept. 9, closing day of the meet.
Ellis Park, the western Kentucky racetrack that's on the fence for 2010, reported healthy gains in on-track business but a big drop in total handle after 20 days were cut from its 2009 meet.
- By Tom LaMarra
Pari-mutuel handle on United States racing continued its decline in August despite the country's two premier summer meets at Del Mar and Saratoga.
- By Tom LaMarra
Youbet.com reported Aug. 12 a 3% increase in revenue for the second quarter of 2009 but a 27.9% decrease in net income.
A reduction in stakes purses for its upcoming meet will allow Turfway Park to maintain overnight purses and racing days, but track officials are thinking ahead to 2010, when that probably won't be the case.
All-sources handle at Calder Race Course rose 48%, from $131.4 million to $195 million, during this year's second quarter, according to parent company Churchill Downs in a report to the Securities and Exchange Commission. But Calder's handle for the quarter ended June 30 was 22% below its handle of $249 million for the second quarter of 2007.
- By Tom LaMarra
Wagering on racing in the United States continued its negative trend in July, with a 13.4% decline from the same month last year. Purses dropped 7.35%.
The first five days of the Saratoga meet showed strength from a business and racing standpoint, with gains in on-track attendance and pari-mutuel, and total handle.
Pari-mutuel handle, purses, and race days all declined in May compared with the same month in 2008, according to the Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators released June 4.
A 16.4% increase in average daily handle from out-of-state wagering outlets fueled an 8.9% jump in average daily handle from all sources during the spring meet at Pimlico Race Course.
Presque Isle Downs & Casino near Erie, Pa., will begin its 100-night meet May 8 with more exposure for its signal.
The New Jersey racing scene shifts to Monmouth Park May 9 after kicking off with a six-day Atlantic City Race Course meet at which total handle quadrupled.
A "benchmark report" on slot machines in Pennsylvania shows a 39.3% increase in purses paid at Thoroughbred and Standardbred racetracks from 2007 to 2008, but double-digit declines in total pari-mutuel handle during the same period.
Wagering on United States races in February totaled $999,815,818, down 11.63% from $1,131,333,323 the same month a year earlier despite a 3.38% increase in the number of racing days.
A switch to five-day racing weeks and a long stretch of dry weather are among the factors helping Gulfstream Park buck an industry trend of lower pari-mutuel handle.
Pari-mutuel handle was down 1.56% in January compared with the same month in 2008, but the decline wasn't close to the 20.3% slip in handle in December 2008 versus a year earlier.
Hawthorne Race Course in Illinois registered gains in average daily total handle for its 2008-09 fall/winter meet thanks to increases in out-of-state wagering. On-track and in-state handle on Hawthorne races declined, however.
A Kentucky lawmaker is preparing racing-related legislation with a primary goal of funding the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, equine drug testing, and supplements for purses and stakes at the state's racetracks.
Economic conditions have led the operators of Pinnacle Race Course in Michigan to put some expansion plans on hold, but the track's inaugural meet in 2008 exceeded expectations, officials said.
Wagering on Thoroughbred races fell almost 10% in November compared with November 2007, Equibase reported Dec. 3 in its monthly "Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators." Purses dropped more than 2%, but race days increased more than 5%.
A study released by Ohio State Racing Commission offers a short-term action plan and a long-term strategy for the struggling horseracing industry in the Buckeye State, but one racetrack official said the quickest fix lies with the pen of Gov. Ted Strickland.
Calder Race Course will not hold any overnight stakes through the rest of its meet that ends Jan. 2, 2009. Five have been cut from the next condition book, which runs through Dec. 14.
Legislation that would require racetracks to submit detailed daily reports on pari-mutuel handle and attendance, and various parties to submit racehorse injury reports, has been pre-filed for the 2009 session of the Kentucky General Assembly.
Handle for the 25th Breeders' Cup World Championships was up 5.5% over last year's event, according to preliminary data released Oct. 26.
Handle on races in the United States sharply dropped 9.85% in the third quarter of this year, clearly in keeping with a trend that began in early 2008.
Kentucky Downs wrapped up its 16th season of live racing with increases in on-track business for its six-day turf-only race meet that ended Sept. 23.
Total purses earned at Pennsylvania racetracks jumped 162% from 2006 to 2007 because of revenue from on-track slot machines, while the percentage of purses earned from pari-mutuel wagering dropped substantially during the same period, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board's first "benchmark report" on the impact of slots on pari-mutuel wagering.
The Thoroughbred Horsemen's Group, which advocates a new economic model for pari-mutuel wagering and has been engaged in high-profile battles in the racing industry, isn't going away anytime soon, its president said July 18.
Despite downward trends in wagering nationwide, Indiana Downs bucked the trend by staying relatively flat during its 54-day Thoroughbred meet that ended July 8.
Pari-mutuel handle took a hit but purses gained a bit in the second quarter of 2008, according to the "Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators" for United States and Canadian pari-mutuel wagering on U.S. Thoroughbred racing.
The New York Racing Association reported that 94,476 were on hand under sunny skies on a sweltering day at Belmont Park June 7 to witness yet another Triple Crown upset, with longshot Da' Tara going wire to wire in the 140th Belmont Stakes (gr. I). The victory ended heavily favored Big Brown's attempt to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.
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