Horse Race Wagering Soars in Ontario

Edited press release from Ontario Jockey Club
The Ontario Jockey Club reported today that wagering continued its strong upward trend in 2000. A record $1,221,684,460 in wagers was handled by the company, up 11.6% from $1,094,511,000 in 1999.

Total wagering at the two OJC tracks, Woodbine and Mohawk, at 27 off-track wagering sites in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), and by telephone account bettors, totalled $854,866,100, an increase of 7.4% over the $795.8 million recorded in 1999. Thoroughbred racing attracted $537 million in wagers, while standardbred racing accounted for $318 million of the total. In 1998 the OJC operations in the GTA recorded wagering of $753.2 million. There has been an increase in wagering of $100 million in just two years in the Toronto area.

The Company also reported significant increases in wagering on its products in markets outside the GTA. On the thoroughbred side, bettors in other parts of Canada and the United States wagered $146.4 million on OJC racing, up by 20% from the $122.3 million of a year ago. On the standardbred side, bettors outside of the GTA wagered $220 million on OJC racing, a gain of 25% from the $176.3 million recorded last year.

The OJC operated a total of 420 days of live racing in 2000 - 160 for thoroughbreds and 260 for standardbreds. Average daily wagering from all sources on Woodbine's thoroughbred racing was $1,831,784 (1999: $1,584,102) and on Woodbine/Mohawk's standardbred racing it was $1,430,956 (1999: $1,241,889).

Daily average purse distribution for thoroughbred horsemen was $470,000 (1999: $304,000) and for standardbred horsemen it was $216,000 (1999: $149,000).

The rejuvenated horse racing business in the Toronto area has benefited from a provincial tax cut in 1996 and was on an upswing even before the arrival of slot machines at Woodbine and Mohawk. The introduction of slots has been beneficial in terms of increased purses for horse people and the increased number of visitors to each racetrack. Annually, over 7,000,000 people are visiting Woodbine and Mohawk racetracks.