10/03/2009 11:00PM

Wagering in September declines marginally


Wagering on U.S. races declined almost 1 percent in September, compared with September 2008, according to figures released on Sunday by Equibase. The figure is the smallest decline for wagering totals since the figures began to be released on a monthly basis last August.

According to the figures, total wagering fell from $883.4 million in September last year to $891.0 million in September this year. There were three additional race days in September of this year compared with last year, for a total of 546, according to Equibase.

Purses did not fare as well. According to Equibase, total purses distributed in U.S. races during September was down 6.1 percent, from $103.9 million in September last year to $97.5 million this year.

Monthly wagering figures have been declining steadily at a 10 percent clip for a year, though there have been some swings from that number, such as a 1.6 percent drop in January and a 20.5 percent drop in December (those swings were affected by the number of weekend days in each month). The largest declines began to hit the industry in the third quarter of last year, at the same time that the credit markets began imploding, so the wagering total this September is being compared to a month in which betting figures had already fallen markedly.

Through the end of September, total wagering on U.S. races is down 10.2 percent, according to Equibase, from $10.8 billion through September last year to $9.7 billion this year. Purses are down 7.3 percent, and total races are down 2.6 percent.