10/04/2014 4:11PM

September handle plunges 10 percent

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Overall handle in September was down more than 10 percent nationwide, contributing to a decline in third-quarter business numbers compared to the same period in 2013, according to figures released on Saturday by Equibase.

Wagering in September in the United States totaled $693,548,821, a sharp decline of 10.55 percent from last year’s $775,340,152.

Concurrent with the decline in wagering were dips in purses, race days, races, and starts, but those figures – drops ranging from 5.73 to 7.73 percent -- were smaller by percentage than the overall decline in handle, so the drop in handle was more than a simple reflection of a decline in opportunities to wager.

September also ends the year’s third quarter, and wagering dipped 4.15 percent for the three-month period of July to September this year compared to last year, to $2,725,670,540 from last year’s $2,843,744,671.

Overall, through the first nine months of the year, handle is off 2.53 percent in 2014 compared to 2013. Purses and race days also are off, but by smaller amounts.