04/01/2004 1:00AM

Laurel's average handle dips


The average all-sources handle for Laurel Park's races and imported simulcasts dropped more than 5 percent during the track's recently completed 62-day live meet, according to figures released by Laurel on Wednesday.

The average handle, which includes betting on Laurel's live races in Maryland and at out-of-state locations, along with bets made by patrons at Laurel on out-of-state simulcasts, dropped to $3.41 million per day, compared with $3.61 million last year.

Total wagering during the live meet and 24 days of dark-day simulcasting was up 2.3 percent over last year, to $245 million. Laurel held 60 live racing cards last year, with 15 dark-day simulcasts.

In this year's 62 live days and 24 dark days, total wagering on simulcasts increased 4.5 percent, though the average dropped 8.8 percent. Total wagering at out-of-state locations on Laurel's signal jumped 2.5 percent, but declined, on average, 1.2 percent daily.

In-state betting on Laurel's live product declined 1.5 percent in total, and 10.2 percent in daily average.