08/26/2014 11:32AM

Belterra cuts purses by 20 percent

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Belterra Park, the racetrack-casino that replaced River Downs in Cincinnati, will cut purses by 20 percent beginning Saturday due to lower-than-expected revenue from slot machines at the track, horsemen’s officials said Tuesday.

The purse cuts will go into effect beginning with the track’s next-to-last condition book, approximately two-thirds of the way through the track’s meet. Belterra Park had been distributing approximately $80,000 a day in purses, a number that will be pared to approximately $64,000 daily for the remainder of the meet, through mid-October.

Dave Basler, the executive director of the Ohio Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, said Tuesday that purses for the earlier condition books were based on higher estimates for revenue from slot machines in the track’s casino, the second to open in Cincinnati. The Ohio HBPA does not currently have an agreement with the track’s owner, Pinnacle Entertainment, on a cut of the revenue, but state law mandates that 9 percent of the slots revenue be placed in escrow for purses until an agreement is reached.

The racing commission has set a deadline for Nov. 1 for the two sides to reach an agreement. The Ohio HBPA has reached agreements with the two other Thoroughbred tracks in the state for a 10.5 percent cut of slots revenue.

Net revenue in July from Belterra’s 1,436 slot machines was $4.22 million, according to records from the Ohio Lottery, the administrator of the machines, for average net revenue per day of $94.80 per machine, a figure that is well at the low end for casinos nationwide.

ken n More than 1 year ago
Greed is good.
nick More than 1 year ago
This is a real shame. I rode races at this track back in the 70s. It has the potential to be a beautiful little track if the owners paid the attention that this place is dying for. Most people don't know that this little track has some big history behind it when it was called Coney Island. Seabiscut ran there and was beat 80 plus years ago.
Dan Cronin More than 1 year ago
It might help if the lazy leadership would get the signal out to the tracks across the country, there are very few places in the country Belterra signal is even shown due to the track mgmt. The place is very poorly run , trust me on that I live in Cincinnati and one of the players at Belterra and they do absolutely nothing for me or the guys with me. The pools are so small you cant even bet if you do the horse goes to 3-5
Walter More than 1 year ago
I'm guessing they really don't care if horse racing makes it there or not. They just want the slots to keep ringing.
Walter More than 1 year ago
Big purses for slow horses has never solved anything for a horseplayer. So this shouldn't effect a horseplayer at all. Maybe slots revenue does have a ceiling?
Steve Wilson More than 1 year ago
Not an auspicious beginning.
1971 Whippet More than 1 year ago
As someone who visited River Downs toward the end, I've wondered how they sold that property for (what they did). Bad location, an awful thoroughbred product, aging fan base. Belterra Casino is very nice, though.
Joey W More than 1 year ago
1st thing Belterra Park should do is find a new race caller. I could not listen to that guy all day. At home I turn the sound off on my computer. 2nd thing is they did not make the place with the horseplayer in mind at all. People don't go just for the fact it is a hassle to place bets.
Vince Lentini More than 1 year ago
right the race caller is the problem...silly