Belmont Park

Belmont Park

Anne M. Eberhardt

Belmont Attendance, Ontrack Handle Soar

Figures show benefit from closure of the New York City Off-Track Betting Corp.

Belmont Park, saying it benefited from the shutdown of New York City Off-Track Betting Corp., reported increases in attendance and most pari-mutuel handle categories for its 2011 spring/summer meet.

Total handle on Belmont races during the 55-day meet was $515,083,504, down 5.7% from $546,357,624 for 57 days in 2010. Average daily handle on NYRA races was down 2.3%, from $9,585,221 last year to $9,365,155 this year.

NYRA noted, however, those numbers include a loss of $60.4 million in NYCOTB downstate handle.

The closure of NYCOTB had a major impact ontrack for Belmont. NYRA reported total ontrack handle, which includes wagering on full-card simulcasts, was up 72%, from $81,866,005 to $140,769,767. Ontrack handle on Belmont races only was up 36.8%, from $56,508,485 to $77,319,170.

With ontrack simulcasts and simulcasts at Aqueduct factored in, all-sources wagering of $579 million was up 1.2% from 2010, and the daily average of $10.5 million for 55 days was up 4.9% from a 57-day meet last year.

NYRA Rewards telephone wagering was up 146% to $13 million from $5.4 million, and NYRA Rewards Internet wagering was up 231% to $22 million from $6.5 million.

Total attendance was up 14.4% to 332,413 from 290,494 for a daily average of 6,044, an 18.6% increase. Total ontrack handle (including money bet on simulcast races) was up 72% to $141 million from $82 million, with a daily average increase of 78.2%.

“We are very encouraged by the results from the recently concluded Belmont Park meet,” NYRA president and chief executive officer Charles Hayward said. “The large increases in attendance and ontrack handle continue the strong trends that we have set since the closure of New York City Off-Track Betting, and it is an especially positive sign that our total all-sources handle increased during the Belmont meet.”

For the first time, NYRA offered simulcasting at Aqueduct during the Belmont meet. With the facility open seven days a week, customers wagered $23 million at Aqueduct during the Belmont meet. NYRA also offered dark-day simulcasting at the Belmont Café at Belmont Park.