Lone Star Park

Lone Star Park

Anne M. Eberhardt

Lone Star: Attendance Up, Overall Handle Down

Lone Star officials said they are pleased with the results of this year's meet.

Lone Star Park ended its 2011 meet July 10 with gains in daily average attendance and purses but an overall decline in pari-mutuel handle.

Average daily attendance of 7,621 over 52 days was up from 6,952 for 60 days last year, Lone Star officials said. The 10% increase was the largest in the history of the Texas racetrack.

With eight fewer racing days, average daily purses increased 7% from $150,871 last year to $161,719 this year, officials said.

All-sources handle for the 2011 meet was $78.6 million, down 19.6% from $97.8 million in 2010; wagering on the Lone Star signal elsewhere averaged $762,653 this year compared with $833,915 in 2010, a decrease of 8.5%; average daily handle on the live product dropped 5%, from $1,124,843 in 2010 to $1,064,840 this year; and average daily betting on incoming signals at Lone Star fell 12%, from $506,109 to $447,324.

Ontrack handle on live races, however, increased 4% to $302,187 from $290,569 in 2010. Field size increased slightly from 8.3 horses per race to 8.9, officials said.

“We are extremely pleased with a 10% in average daily attendance despite the third-hottest June in Dallas-Fort Worth history, a historic NBA World Championship run by the Dallas Mavericks, and record attendance by the Texas Rangers,” Lone Star president and general manager Drew Shubeck said in a statement. “These results show that horse racing is a viable entertainment offering in one of the most competitive sports and entertainment markets in the country.

“The future is even brighter as we look forward to the multimillion-dollar renovations by our new owner, Global Gaming Solutions.”

Global Gaming Solutions chief executive officer John Elliott said the 2010 results were positive in light of the circumstances. He said the company would “continue to reenergize Lone Star Park with Global Gaming Solutions entertainment expertise and capital improvements.”

Shubeck said the handle numbers were a mixed bag.

“We’re happy with the live product wagering numbers, especially the live ontrack handle average increase,” Shubeck said. “We continue to be disappointed in the simulcast-out number. This decline is a signal that the national simulcast customer is telling us they are not interested in our product offering. We need to continue to work with our new owners, Remington Park, and other Texas racetracks to improve the quality of racing, not only at Lone Star Park, but throughout the region.

“The decreases in our ontrack and all-sources handle are consistent with what’s happening around the country, and largely due to the national economic downturn. Although illegal, the continued penetration of Internet wagering into our market is a major challenge, and until legislation is passed in Texas that regulates advance deposit wagering, we will continue to lose jobs and valuable purse money for Texas horsemen.”