Updated on 04/19/2016 1:37PM

Canterbury will have lowest blended takeout in 2016


Canterbury Park announced Tuesday plans to lower pari-mutuel takeout to North America’s lowest level for its 2016 race meet, which starts May 20.

According to Eric Halstrom, vice president of racing operations at Canterbury, the Shakopee, Minn., track’s blended takeout in 2016 will be 16.5 percent, while win-place-show wagers will have a takeout of just 15 percent, also the lowest rate in North America. The takeout on all exotic wagers will be 18 percent.

In 2015, Canterbury had a blended takeout rate of 20.4 percent and a win-place-show takeout of 17 percent. Takeout on all exotic bets save the pick four, which is up to 2016’s standard 18 percent exotic rake after being dropped to 14 percent last year, also have been reduced from 2015 levels.

Canterbury is making a bet that lowering takeout will in the end boost revenue generated through betting, a position long held by many prominent voices in racing but rarely put into practice by racetracks. Tracks fear the amount of revenue lost in takeout reductions won’t be offset by an accompanying increase in gross handle, though studies have shown that the churn produced by returning more money to bettors increases gross handle.

Canterbury hopes that will happen, too, but Halstrom said the track believes it can also create new Canterbury players by offering them a better price. Canterbury’s betting handle is unusually skewed toward on-track patrons, relative to the rest of the country, and on-track bets accounted for an average of about $190,000 of Canterbury’s average daily handle of a little more than $600,000 during the 2015 meet. Live wagering typically accounts for only 10 percent of total handle at most racetracks.

“Handle here is up 100 percent since 2010, but the piece we haven’t conquered yet is the export market. We still have the ability to double our handle,” Halstrom said. “I do think we’ll come out ahead because we’ve started at a low base in a real-dollar sense.”

Canterbury’s position also diverges from many venues because they have a strong working relationship with the local horsemen’s group. Horsemen often oppose takeout reductions, fearing lost handle will lead to purse declines, but Canterbury, Halstrom said, has guaranteed horsemen they’ll pay purses equal to the 2015 level.

“The horsemen were all for this, but I’m not sure every state has that situation,” said Halstrom.

Halstrom said Canterbury and its purse account each get from eight to 10 percent of every bet made on-track; that percentage drops to about 2 percent each for bets placed out of state on Canterbury races. It’s that area Canterbury hopes to drive with its low-handle pitch.

“We have not been a part of everybody’s simulcast day, and we’re fine with admitting we weren’t on everyone’s radar, but this is a way to increase our visibility,” Halstrom said. “When you go from zero to a new player, that’s a big thing. We’re taking a gamble here, but we’re not opposed to taking some risk."

jim More than 1 year ago
As an owner of a few horses that will run at Canterbury this spring/summer, I am really excited and hopeful that this will increase handle and in return increase purses in the future. This track has made great strides in recent years and is starting to attract more high quality horses and trainers. Hoping this trend continues!  
Vince Piscitelli More than 1 year ago
Congrats to Canterbury on fan friendly move. Never wagered much there but thinking that will change soon.......like this May.

Vince P
Joe Rockhold More than 1 year ago
Welcome aboard!  Enjoy the race-caller as well.  Not exactly traditional but the best in the business in my opinion.
jim More than 1 year ago
I agree on the race caller Paul Allen. Makes every race entertaining and is very clever with some phrases. In my opinion Canterbury is one of the most underrated tracks in the country in terms of quality of racing and purses they offer. I have always preferred to play them over other Midwest tracks and the lower takeouts now only add to the appeal.
Andy Adinolfi More than 1 year ago
Does anybody know if Canterbury will be on TVG this year?
Joe Rockhold More than 1 year ago
I haven't heard either but I really hope so. Better racing and wagering product than a lot of tracks they currently air.
jim More than 1 year ago
Last I heard is that it will only be on TVG on Thursday and Friday nights in the summer. That can change of course but its just so tough for Canterbury to compete with other well known tracks on weekend afternoons. Maybe the lower takeouts will change that somewhat.
MichaelTomatz More than 1 year ago
As a Canterbury player, I am excited to see Canterbury take the lead on this issue. Hope to see some significant pool growth this summer!
Joel Firsching More than 1 year ago
Loved my two years at canterbury.  They really were fan friendly and once again they are stepping up.  In 2003 and 2004, they had free past performances programs available for most of the tracks.  Fun contests, good food and nice facility.  
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
I will now give this track a look ...takeout is the second most important factor after ethics.

Joe Rockhold More than 1 year ago
Definitely do that Ray.  They get a great mix of horses from a wide variety of tracks and it's fun seeing how they stack up with each other.  Couple very good trainers in Diodoro and Mac Robertson so you get to see some nice stake horses on occasion.  Very entertaining race-caller as well.
Kevin Lovgren More than 1 year ago
This is a great move for the Minnesota track. They have totally past Arlington with the quality of there racing product. The horse people are not dumb. All of us that enjoy this track will benefit  with better racing. Congrats to the racing higher ups!!!! 
AskRubenHow2Bet More than 1 year ago
Nicely done @canterburypark, lowered takeout will not go unnoticed
racetrackandy More than 1 year ago

Never played Canterbury before but I’ll be jumping in and so should other people who support lower takeout for EVERYONE. This will be another small hit to California Racing handle. 
From Canterbury website:

As a result of this takeout reduction, winning wagers on Canterbury Park races will pay more in 2016!

The comment above is EXACTLY what you advertise. “We pay more when you win”. Canterbury can now advertise their jurisdiction as a better gambling game of skill than most jurisdictions.

As a result California can no longer say that they have the lowest WPS take in the country. I’ve never seen a group of “wrong way Corrigan’s” as tone deaf as California Racing. They get the best advice and then do the opposite.

Rock on Canterbury.