04/17/2008 11:00PM

Laurel business slumps

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Wagering and attendance at Laurel Park's winter meet this year plummeted compared with last year, with average all-sources handle down 20 percent and total attendance declining 31.4 percent.

Handle figures for Maryland's racetracks have been static or in decline for more than a decade.

Average all-sources betting on Laurel's races fell from $2.62 million daily in 2007 to $2.10 million in 2008. Laurel's 2007 meet had 71 live race days, while this year’s had 59. Average ontrack handle was down 17.8 percent, and average out-of-state handle on Laurel's races was down 20.3 percent.

Total attendance, including simulcast-only days, fell from 265,686 in 2007 to 182,245 in 2008. Laurel did not release attendance figures for live race days only.