05/25/2011 12:22PM

Racetrack casinos increase revenue 5.9 percent

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Total revenue for racetrack casinos rose 5.9 percent in 2010 compared with 2009, according to figures compiled by a casino trade group, the American Gaming Association.

The 2010 revenue figure, $6.74 billion, was up from $6.38 billion in 2009. The number represents the amount of money that casinos retained from gambling on slot machines or table games. The report, released annually by the AGA, said that the figure was compiled from 45 racetrack casinos operating in 12 states.

The figure was bolstered by the opening of new racetrack casinos in 2010 in Florida, where gambling revenue rose 51.9 percent compared with 2009. Growth was also robust in Pennsylvania, where table games were legalized in 2010, with total revenue at racetrack casinos in the state growing by 26.4 percent.

Racetrack casinos provide hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies annually to purses and racetrack operators. Recent reports conducted by the racing industry have indicated that approximately one-third of all purses distributed in the U.S. are provided by gambling subsidies.

Overall, total gambling revenues at casinos in the U.S., including riverboat casinos and Native American casinos, increased 0.9 percent in 2010 compared with 2009, rising from $34.28 billion to $34.60 billion, according to the AGA report. The increase was the first in three years for the casino gambling industry. Total casino gambling revenue peaked in 2007 at $37.52 billion, just prior to the recession.

In contrast, total handle at U.S. racetracks in 2010 dropped 7.3 percent, according to the Jockey Club, the fourth straight year of declines.