Wagering on racing in the United States continued its negative trend in July.

Wagering on racing in the United States continued its negative trend in July.

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Another Rough Month for U.S. Handle, Purses

Handle and purses declined in July 2009 from July 2008, statistics show.

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 July numbers, however, were an improvement over those in June, when year-to-year pari-mutuel handle fell 16.89%.

The Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators were released Aug. 5 by Equibase. The handle numbers include worldwide commingled betting on all U.S. races.

Year-to-date 2009 versus the same period in 2008, handle is down 10.9%, according to the statistics.

In July of this year, handle totaled $1,046,639,913 compared with $1,208,560,476 in July 2008. The number of racing days—individual programs at each track—dropped 1.36% from 660 last year to 651 this year.

July purses totaled $110,042,334, down from $118,776,196 last year. Purses were roughly 10.5% of handle in July, but the purse figure includes sizeable revenue from non-handle sources such as slot machines.

The amount of purse money generated by handle versus alternative gaming isn’t provided.

Year-to-date, $7,550,634,682 was wagered in the first six months of 2009, down from $8,473,960,715. Purses totaled $617,207,882, down 6.27% from $658,521,792 for the first six months of 2008.

The number of race days fell 1.92% from 3,533 last year to 3,465 this year.

Racing industry officials have largely blamed the economy for the decrease in handle at many tracks around the country.