10/04/2012 1:03PM

U.S. wagering in September up slightly, purses spike


Wagering on U.S. races was up 2.6 percent in September of this year compared to the same month last year, while purses shot up 13.8 percent, according to figures released on Thursday by Equibase.

The jump in betting, from $774.4 million last September to $794.5 million this September, was accompanied by a 1.4 percent increase in race days. Per race day, handle was $1.59 million during the month, compared to $1.57 million last September, an increase of 1.3 percent.

Total purse distribution during the month was $107.5 million, up from $94.5 million. Purses at U.S. racetracks are heavily subsidized by revenues from casinos, and the number this September was bolstered by purse increases at Saratoga and Belmont Park that kicked in late last year after a casino opened at Aqueduct racetrack.

For the year, wagering is up 2.3 percent, according to Equibase, while purses are up 9 percent. Race days are up 1.8 percent.