Increased Handle at Laurel Closes Positive MJC Year

Laurel Park realized a 7.9% increase in all-source average handle during its fall meet that ended Dec. 31, 2006, despite declines in on-track handle and attendance, the Maryland Jockey Club track has reported.

Average all-source handle exceeded $3.4 million daily, bolstered by a 17.7% increase to nearly $2.3 million in average export daily handle, when compared to the 2005 meeting. On-track average daily handle declined 3.3% to $280,079, and the average daily attendance of 18,198 also declined by 6.4%.

The Maryland Jockey Club closed out the year with a total all-source handle figure of $960,242,905, an increase of 7.2% over 2005. More than half of the total came from a 21.2% rise in total export handle to $525,171,148. Additionally, the average on-track daily handle of $347,453 was up 2% over 2005.

“The handle on Maryland racing, while running 11 fewer days than 2005, is up $92 million outside the state,” said Lou Raffetto, president and Chief Operating Officer of the Maryland Jockey Club, in a news release.

“At the same time, we are up 2% on live racing in the state of Maryland. The trend at most tracks across the country is to have an increase in handle on the incoming signals while live wagering decreases. Any time the live product is up, it is a very positive sign.”

Combined 2006 attendance at Laurel and Pimlico Racecourse was reported at 1,440,968, a decline of 1.3% over 2005.