Anne M. Eberhardt

Economic Indicators: Handle Down, Purses Up

Wagering on United States races declined slightly to 2.86% during the month of July.

The decline in wagering on United States races was slightly higher for July compared with July 2010, but the overall year-to-date wagering has improved a bit.

Wagering in July declined 2.86% compared with wagering during July 2010, which had dropped 1.96%, according to figures supplied by the Equibase Company. Overall, the year-to-date handle fell 6.96% during the first seven months of the year as declines in the Thoroughbred industry continue. In 2010, the handle from January through July was down 7.14%

Equibase reported a total handle for last month of $999,242,281, compared with $1,028,660,047 for July 2010. Purses were up a slight 1.11% to $110,718,002 from $109,498,653 for the previous year. Total race days in July were 588, down 6.67% from the 630 days in July 2010.

For the year to date, U.S. total wagering has fallen 6.9% to $6,525,291,089 ($7,013,687,423 in 2010), but purses are up 1.15% to total $592,966,047. The total race days have declined 6.26% through July.