07/01/2004 12:00AM

NTRA panel studying purses


The National Thoroughbred Racing Association plans in August to issue recommendations on how to address falling purses in the racing industry, the NTRA said Wednesday.

The recommendations, which are being developed by a 29-member task force set up to examine wagering and purse trends, are likely to address a number of controversial issues in the industry, including rebating, betting exchanges, and the piracy of simulcast signals. The NTRA formed the task force after purses declined in 2003 despite an increase in handle.

The task force met Tuesday and Wednesday in Cincinnati, the NTRA said this week. During the meetings, the task force received a report from a large rebate shop, Racing and Gaming Services of St. Kitts, and reviewed handle trends in the industry.

As handle has migrated over the past decade to more and more off track sources, the share of betting that goes to purses has declined. At the same time, national purse figures have been propped up recently by revenues from slot machines in tracks in Delaware, Louisiana, Iowa, and West Virginia.

The task force is chaired by Greg Avioli, the NTRA's deputy director.