06/04/2012 1:29PM

U.S. handle dips in May


Handle on U.S. races during the month of May slipped slightly from betting during the same month last year, according to figures distributed by Equibase on Monday.

Betting dropped 0.34 percent, from $1.163 billion last May to $1.159 billion this year, despite a record amount of betting of $133 million on the May 5 Kentucky Derby and slightly higher totals this year for the Preakness Stakes and its undercard two weeks later.

The slight drop followed a 7 percent decline in wagering for April. For the year, handle, which is the best measure of demand for racing, is up 1.5 percent, according to Equibase. Handle on U.S. races has dropped on an annual basis for five straight years, with the declines accelerating significantly with the onset of the recession in 2008.

Race days were up 2.75 percent, from 509 last May to 523 this May. On average, handle per race day this May was $2.216 million, a 3 percent decline from average handle of $2.285 million in May last year.

Purses, which are heavily subsidized at U.S. tracks by slot machines, rose 7.55 percent in the month compared to last May, from $96 million to $103.3 million, for an average of $197,514 per race day.

For the year, purses are up 7.1 percent to $413 million, compared to $385.7 million through May of 2011. Race days through May of this year were identical to race days through May of last year, at 1,939.

mikey More than 1 year ago
Racing is in troble big time. I have played this game i love for 50 year's.The past year i have never seen such a bad product.Purse's are up quality is way down. I have seen 20,000 claimer's with such bad field's i would not give 20,000 for the whole field.All time high purse;s all time low quality.That spell's big problem's.for racing Havng 5 or 6 big day's won't cut it HEEELLLPPPP. THE SHIP IS GOING DOWN S.O.S.
Chuck Kedl More than 1 year ago
Who's right? DRF or Bloodhorse? DRF headline says handle dips in May, while Bllodhorse says it is stable. Both quote stats from Equibase but use different stats. Can someone clarify this? Here's the Bloodhorse link: http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/70292/us-wagering-stable-during-may.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I asked this same question before to tvg network, and they said there is "always" at least one winning ticket for payout on exactas, trifectas, and supers... I found that to be impossible.
rcgustafson More than 1 year ago
There is always a payout because if no one has the prcise combination in anyone of the slots then the payout is to "all' or any number in that particolar slot.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
yea I have seen superfectas paid to "all" but never trifectas or even exactas when longshots come in. an "all" payout just amounts to a refund on ticket price doesnt it?
rcgustafson More than 1 year ago
Not a refund in ticket price because some tickets but NOT EVERYBODYS would have at least one of the horses in one of the two or three slots correct. Tere are bound to be some losing tickets unless the pool is miniscule.
John Stevelberg More than 1 year ago
Matt is there any correclation between "handle" and " higher takeout rates and the way payoffs w/p/s are now calculated. Which by the way defy description and I'm a "statistics major".
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
where does the money go when exotics such as trifectas and supers don't have a winning ticket? there aren't carryovers like in pick 6's.... so where does the pool money go? track keep it all?