"This is encouraging news when you consider that the first nine months of the calendar year saw overall wagering down by 8.4%" Bacola said. "Michigan's horse racing industry has suffered considerably in recent years because competition for the gaming dollar has reached new heights. The last quarter of 2001 indicates the wagering public is beginning to discover the sport of racing offers better odds and a unique entertainment experience."
Despite a 6% overall decline in total wagering, Michigan tracks posted a strong last quarter for calendar 2001 with total wagering up 3.2% for the period of Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, 2001, an increase of $2.7 million as compared to the same period a year ago. The recent increase was driven by the last quarter performances of Sports Creek Raceway and Northville Racing. Sports Creek Raceway's simulcast wagering rose a staggering 20.9% while live wagering at Northville Racing went up an equally impressive 19.9% compared to 2000.Pari-mutuel racetracks in Michigan saw horse racing fans wager more than $375 million during 2001 which included the strong finish for the last quarter, according to MichiganRacing Commissioner Annette M. Bacola.