06/04/2013 11:55AM

Betting handle in U.S. rises in May


Wagering on U.S. races in May was up 3.6 percent compared to betting on U.S. races during the same month last year, while race days declined 1.9 percent, according to figures released on Tuesday by Equibase.

The jump in betting and the decline in race days are both positive signals for the racing industry, which has struggled financially since the 2008 recession. Factoring in the decline in race days, handle per race day in the U.S. in May was $2.35 million, up 5.3 percent compared to average raceday handle of $2.23 million in May of 2012.

Total betting on U.S. races in May was $1.20 billion, Equibase reported, compared to total betting of $1.16 billion in May last year. Tracks dropped 10 racing days from the calendar during the month, carding 511 race days compared to 521 last year. The first two legs of the Triple Crown, the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, are held in May.

The onset of the recession in 2008 led to a near collapse of the bloodstock market and double-digit declines in the foal crop. The biggest declines occurred in the crops of 2010 and 2011, whose foals are now 2 and 3 years old, leading to pressure on tracks to cut racing days this year in order to maintain competitive field sizes.

Purses distributed in U.S. races during May were $104 million, up slightly from total May purses last year of $103.3 million. Purses at U.S. racetracks are heavily subsidized by payments from casinos.

For the year, total wagering is down 0.7 percent, Equibase reported, while race days have declined 3.5 percent. Purses are down 2.1 percent.


Brandon Layer More than 1 year ago
Since the smallest foal crops are now 2 and 3 years old it stands to reason that they are weak relative to other years. Less horses = less stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"U.S. racetracks are heavily subsidized by payments from casinos."....there's the rub...if racing cannot stand on its own it is destined to fall...it is only a matter of time before the crutch of casino money is pulled out ...enjoy it while it lasts
kingsailor2 More than 1 year ago
It must be because they banned lasix and the public reacted positively to the new "integrity in horseracing!" Doesn't this validate the Jockey Club, TOBA and BC's hypotheses (hint: no, because they are wrong !).
jttf More than 1 year ago
matt, you also have to include how much the dollar was worth last year. in the last ten years, you would have to make 30 % more income to match what you were making in 2003. that is a 3 % per year on the average. this is the way the government taxes us without telling us we are being taxed. the government makes new fancy dollar bills and new quarters with all 50 states represented. just have the government make new money so we dont have to file tax forms in april. can we trust the IRS anymore ? did the stock market really reach the same level since 9/11 ? just sneaky ways to fool the people.
Andrew More than 1 year ago
Sounds like you just want to make a political statement more than anything
Brandon Layer More than 1 year ago
Inflation has been going on since the beginning of the United States. Its not a conspiracy from the last 10 years.
jttf More than 1 year ago
the article states there was an increase. when there isnt any increase. look at it realistically. when does anyone state that inflation is a tax ?
David More than 1 year ago
Positive numbers but we still need an increase in the foal crop. Too many short fields holding back wagering.