03/31/2011 3:32PM

Aqueduct's ontrack handle jumps

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With the closing of New York City Off-Track Betting Corp. in December, the New York Racing Association enjoyed a tremendous spike in ontrack business during Aqueduct’s recently concluded inner track meet, but the loss of approximately $9.6 million in payments from OTB caused declines in revenue for the four-month period.

Ontrack handle at Aqueduct for the 72-day winter meet – including money wagered on simulcast tracks – was $127,518,849, an increase of 70.47 percent when compared to the $74,802,825 wagered during the 69-day inner track season of 2009-2010. Of that additional $52 million in handle, $12 million came from wagering done at Belmont Park, which in essence was NYRA’s version of an offtrack betting parlor.

Since NYRA keeps 10 percent of wagers considered to be made ontrack – which includes phone, Internet, and Belmont – the $52 million increase helped offset the $50.4 million decrease in handle that was associated with the closure of New York City OTB. NYRA only got 2.5 percent of a dollar wagered at OTB. Thus, NYRA realized approximately a $5.2 million revenue increase.

What NYRA couldn’t replace, however, was approximately $9.6 million in revenue from contractual and statutory payments that OTB paid NYRA last winter. That money came largely from OTB handle on non-NYRA races.

According to NYRA figures, total all-sources handle on NYRA races this winter was down 7 percent from 447,106,724 to $415,692,811.

Meanwhile, ontrack attendance went up an average of 50 percent from 2,763 in 2009-10 to 4,168 in 2010-11