01/12/2012 4:20PM

NYRA ontrack handle climbs in 2011, but total handle dips


The New York Racing Association enjoyed tremendous gains in ontrack business in 2011, but all-sources handle on racing at its three tracks – Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga – was down 7.3 percent compared with 2010.

Ontrack handle on NYRA’s races was $351,835,640, an increase of 26.7 percent from 2010 when $277,696,682 was wagered ontrack. Included in NYRA’s ontrack figures is money wagered at both the Belmont Café and Aqueduct while live racing is not operating at those tracks, as well as money wagered through NYRA Rewards.

Last year was the first year that both Aqueduct and Belmont remained open for simulcasting on a year-round basis. That was done to help combat the handle lost from the closure of New York City Off-Track Betting Corp. in December 2010. In 2010, NYC OTB handled $208 million on NYRA’s races, or 9.85 percent of NYRA’s total handle.

Total all-sources handle on NYRA’s races in 2011 was $1,959,931,791, a 7.3 percent decrease from $2,114,127,787 wagered in 2010.

When simulcast wagering is factored in, ontrack handle at NYRA in 2011 was $625,306,557, a 59 percent increase over $393,223,353 wagered in 2010. Total handle, including simulcast races, was up 0.2 percent to $2,233,402,711.

The closure of NYC OTB helped NYRA enjoy a 10.2 percent increase in attendance to 1,809,864 from 1,642,648. NYRA conducted 240 racing days in 2011, two fewer than in 2010, and 14 fewer races than in 2010.