09/28/2009 12:00AM

Monmouth average handle down 5 percent


Average all-sources betting on races at the recently concluded meet at Monmouth Park in New Jersey was down 5 percent compared to all-sources average betting last year, according to figures released by the track.

The average fell from $3.31 million during last year's 100-day meet to $3.15 million during this year's 93-day meet, which ended on Sunday. Total wagering during the meet was $293.0 million, compared to $330.1 million last year.

Average ontrack handle was down 4.9 percent compared to last year, according to the track. That figure, however, came on top of a 29 percent decline in average ontrack handle during the 2008 meet, when compared to a 75-day meet in 2007.

Attendance was up 6 percent during the meet, according to Monmouth, to an average of 6,949. Average attendance plummeted 27 percent during the 2008 meet when compared to the 2007 meet.

The 2009 meet was the second consecutive in which Monmouth raced past Labor Day. Prior to the 2008 meet, Monmouth typically closed after the first weekend in September. Ontrack figures in 2008 were also negatively impacted by the opening of several new off-track betting locations in New Jersey and the migration of bettors to in-home wagering operations.

Most racetracks have suffered declines in average wagering since last summer because of the recession. According to figures from Equibase, total betting on U.S. races is down 11.1 percent this year through August.