Oaklawn Park concluded the 2016 live racing season April 16 with across-the-board increases in handle, attendance, average field size, and Oaklawn Anywhere (the tracks advance-deposit wagering site) business.
More than $228 million was accrued for purses at six Pennsylvania racetracks in 2015 with almost 90% of the funds derived from slot machine revenue, according to an annual report that analyzes the racetrack gaming industry in the state.
Canterbury Park and its horsemen's group hope to make a statement this year with an across-the-board reduction in pari-mutuel takeout rates that will range from 15% to 18% for the 2016 meet.
Keeneland will begin its spring meet with a bump in overnight purses, but track officials hope it's the start of steady growth made possible by revenue from Lexington's historical race wagering facility.
Despite fewer races and race days, commingled wagering on U.S. racing rose nominally during the month of March, according to the Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators released by Equibase April 5.
Gulfstream Park reported record total pari-mutuel handle of $807 million for its 85-day Championship meet that concluded April 3. Average daily handle was $9.49 million.
The head of the horsemen's group at Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack is predicting the end of racing at the upstate Thoroughbred track, after a new state government budget deal failed to protect purse levels.
Horses are back training at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort, where more than three months of down time in late fall and winter allowed time for improvements in the barn area.
A subcommittee of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission March 29 opted to delay a vote and instead solicit input on the percentage of revenue Thoroughbred and Standardbred purses and breeding funds get from casino gaming.
The final three weeks of racing will at Oaklawn Park this season will feature the highest purses in its history, the Arkansas racetrack announced March 23.
Revenue for horse racing is included in a casino-expansion referendum that will be put before New Jersey voters in November. The legislation states that not less than 2% of revenue would go to support horse racing.
A strong push to decouple racing from gaming officially hit the wall with the end of this year's Florida legislative session March 11, but a horsemen's coalition said it fully expects the issue to come up again in 2017.
With on- and off-track pari-mutuel wagering both up at the halfway point of its 2016 meet, Oaklawn Park has again raised overnight purses, this time by up to $5,000 a race.
Pro-racing lawmakers in West Virginia took part in a March 1 Capitol press conference to discuss the economic impact of Thoroughbred racing and breeding given legislation that would decouple live racing from gaming.
Legislation designed to modernize horse racing in Pennsylvania was signed into law Feb. 23 by Gov. Tom Wolf, who last fall threatened to shut down the industry because it couldn't pay for regulation.
As a result of better than expected pari-mutuel handle and an increase in video poker revenue throughout the meet, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots has announced a purse increase effective for the final 14 days of the meet.
The Florida Senate Regulated Industries Committee Feb. 17 passed two pieces of legislation, one authorizing a compact with the Seminole tribe and another that would allow decoupling at most racetracks in the state.
Oaklawn Park in Arkansas will increase overnight purses by as much as $3,000 for overnight races and bump up purses for three stakes by $50,000.
Despite declines in race days and number of races during January, wagering on U.S. racing rose 2.2% to $830,526,891 when compared with the $812,581,024 total handle during January 2015.
Legislation that would restore video lottery terminal-generated purse funds that have been diverted to pay down a workers' compensation debt has been introduced in the West Virginia House of Delegates.
Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort has released its 2016 racing schedule and, as was the case last year, the West Virginia track will offer 160 programs.
Owners of West Virginia-bred racehorses will share in an additional $1 million, the result of an accumulated balance in the West Virginia Accredited Race Fund.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposed budget would also increase the takeout to cover regulatory costs and could divert VLT money from purses to equine health initiatives.
Purse money for the 2016 Royal Ascot meet has been increased 1 million pounds (18%) from 2015 to a record 6,580,000 pounds for the five-day meet, the racecourse announced Jan. 11.
Total wagering on Standardbred races in the United States was, like betting on Thoroughbred racing, up slightly in 2015 compared with the previous year.
Despite more than 2,300 fewer races compared with 2014, commingled pari-mutuel handle on United States races inched up 1.18% to $10,676,223,640 in 2015. It is the first year-over-year increase since 2012.
The Maryland Jockey Club reported a healthy increase in total live pari-mutuel handle at Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course in 2015 despite two fewer racing days compared with 2014.
In what it says is a move to increase the profitability of owning young racehorses, NYRA will schedule six $100,000 maiden races for 2-year-olds this spring as lead-ins to its first two juvenile stakes of 2016.
Officials at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races report the track enjoyed record handle per race of $111,664 for its 1,447 races in 2015.
Golden Gate Fields experienced a 3.08% year-over-year increase in total all-sources handle in 2015 despite racing three fewer days.
The West Virginia Racing Commission Dec. 23 approved the $1.25 million purse for the 2016 Charles Town Classic (gr. II), but the vote wasn't unanimous.
Los Alamitos Race Course ended its second winter Thoroughbred meet Dec. 20 with a 2.3% increase in all-sources pari-mutuel handle over the inaugural season in 2014.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission took no action Dec. 17 on a request from the Massachusetts THA to be recognized as the legitimate representative of the region's owners and trainers rather than the New England HBPA.
With one more month remaining in 2015, pari-mutuel wagering on U.S. races is up less than a percentage point compared with the first 11 months of 2014 but purses are down 1.68%.
Total pari-mutuel handle during the 21-day Churchill Downs fall meet was $104,626,990, up 9.9% from $95,225,065 for a 24-day fall meet in 2014. Average daily handle jumped 25.6% to $4,982,238 from $3,967,711 in 2014.
As Tampa Bay Downs prepared to begin its meet Nov. 28, Peter Berube, general manager at the Florida racetrack, discussed its model for success in the face of competition from tracks with alternative gaming.
At a time when some Mid-Atlantic region tracks are cutting live racing dates, Maryland is moving in the opposite direction as part of a master plan to make the state a year-round Thoroughbred racing and stabling destination.
More than three years into a lucrative purse agreement between Canterbury Park and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, the Minnesota Thoroughbred breeding program is reaping the benefits.
The New York Racing Association reported a rebound, at least in terms of total pari-mutuel handle, for the Belmont Park fall meet that ended Nov. 1.
The early closure of Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort in West Virginia has had a positive impact on Hollywood Casino at Mahoning Valley Race Course, at least for the first six days of its 2015-16 meet.
Turfway Park, which accounts for a third of Kentucky's year-round racing calendar, will begin its season Dec. 3 with lower purses, primarily because of less Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund money.
Aided by more than $150 million in pari-mutuel handle for the two-day Breeders' Cup, commingled wagering on United States races in October was up 17.7% compared with the same month in 2014.
Churchill Downs will begin its fall meet Nov. 1 with higher purses and, if the first two programs are an indication, large fields for the 21-day session.
Total and average pari-mutuel handle, as well as purses, were up slightly during the 81-day meet at Delaware Park that ended Oct. 17.
A strong September in terms of handle on U.S. races has helped wagering figures through the first three quarters of 2015 stay in the black.
Average daily all-sources and on-track pari-mutuel handle fell while average daily purses and field size rose during the 11-day September at Churchill Downs that ended Sept. 27.
Monmouth Park officials said given the intense competition for gambling dollars and horses in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions, the numbers from its just-completed 2015 race meet held up fairly well versus last year.
Mike Maker, who scored in three consecutive races Sept. 19, was named top trainer of the 2015 Kentucky Downs meet while jockey Florent Geroux was the leading rider with 12 victories for the five-day season.
Citing higher than anticipated handle on its Aug. 15 Arlington Million card and following days, Arlington International Racecourse announced it will card additional races daily and increase purses for state-bred races.
Kentucky Downs, which was rebuffed last year in its attempt to add racing days to its 2015 schedule, will try again for 2016, track president Corey Johnsen said Sept. 16.
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