Declines in U.S. Wagering, Purses Continue

Declines in U.S. Wagering, Purses Continue
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

Wagering, purses, and race days in United States Thoroughbred racing continued a downward spiral in November compared to one year ago, according to the latest available data. 

The "Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators" report released Dec. 4 by Equibase said wagering on United States races in November 2010 totaled $906,259,429, off 7.78% from $982,739,386 for November 2009.

Purses for the same period totaled $95,520,748, down 8.45% from $104,342,180 last year.

There were 375 race days (individual racing programs at each track) versus 411 in November 2009, a decline of 8.76%.

The November numbers exceeded the reported declines for handle, purses, and race days for the year to date.

For the first 11 months of 2010, total pari-mutuel handle on U.S. racing was off 7.20%, from $11,571,305,558 in 2009 to $10,737,672,191.

Purses for the first 11 months of 2010 totaled $971,189,950, a drop of 6.20% from $1,035,358,895 last year. Race days declined by 442 days or 7.89%, from 5,601 last year to 5,159 in 2010.

A glimmer of good news is that it appears the handle decline is slowing this year; wagering fell 9.9% to $12.3 billion from 2008 to 2009. Purses were off about $100 million last year, while the number of race days dropped only 2.3% from 2008 to 2009.

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