07/08/2013 1:33PM

Total handle in U.S drops in June, but raceday average rises

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Wagering on U.S. races fell in June of this year compared with the same month last year, according to figures released last week by Equibase, but race days fell at a greater rate, leading to higher handle per race day.

Total wagering on U.S. races during June was $934.15 million, down 1.6 percent compared with wagering of $949.01 million during June of last year. Race days fell 3.5 percent, from 596 in June 2012 to 575 in June this year. That resulted in a 2.1 percent jump in wagering per race day, from $1.592 million last June to $1.625 million this year.

Race days have been contracting in the United States because of sizeable declines in the foal crop over the past few years. Because the most heavy declines occurred for the foal crops of 2010 and 2011, race days are expected to continue to decline for at least several more years as racetracks endeavor to maintain competitive field sizes.

Purses distributed during the month of June this year were marginally lower than purses distributed in June of last year, down 0.2 percent, from $109.52 million in June, 2012, to $109.29 million in June this year, according to Equibase. Purses at U.S. racetracks are heavily subsidized by casino revenue.

For the year, wagering is down 0.8 percent, while race days are down 3.5 percent. Total purses are down 1.7 percent, according to Equibase.