04/04/2015 1:14PM

Wagering on U.S. races down 12 percent in March


Wagering on U.S. races in March was down 12 percent compared with the same month last year, as the number of races held at U.S. tracks plummeted nearly 15 percent, according to figures released by Equibase on Saturday.

Wagering fell from $963.2 million in March 2014 to $847.7 million this March, according to the figures. Because the number of races held during the month declined at an even steeper rate, average wagering per race actually rose 3.2 percent on a month-to-month basis, from $288,629 last March to $297,947 this March.

March of this year had nine weekend dates, compared with 10 weekend dates in March 2014. Handle typically is far higher on weekend dates.

Purses fell by a similar rate as handle, declining 11.64 percent, from $85.7 million to $75.8 million. The average purse per race rose, however, from $25,690 to $26,626.

Racetracks across the U.S. have been aggressively cutting race dates and races over the past 12 months to counteract a sharp decline in the foal crop from 2010-12.

For the year, handle is down 5.2 percent, according to Equibase, while the number of race is down 7.6 percent. Purses are down 5.95 percent.

HatzOffToNixon More than 1 year ago
Glad to see others talking about takeout. It needs to be 10% on ALL WAGERS. There are fewer and fewer suckers left that will punt at any price. If you want to give players a chance to win , the takeout MUST be lowered. Why do you think so many are playing those 'tournies'. It's an end run around the onerous track take. Who will be the first track offer 10% takeout on all wagers. Their handle will DOUBLE or better overnight. And I'm not even charging my usual 200k consulting fee.
Tiff More than 1 year ago
Uh, yeah, right. Hialeah tried 12% on everything a few years back and it backfired big time! Nice try though.
HatzOffToNixon More than 1 year ago
Sad to see only an ignoramus reply. Comparing a corpse of a meeting of QUARTER HORSE racing to something like Belmont or SA? Try again, when you get a clue.
Walter More than 1 year ago
I don't recall Hia ever doing that. In fact, Hia has one of the highest takes in the country. That is why people are not fond of Brunetti and it hurt the business at the track.
Ian GW More than 1 year ago
Players are smarter. We pass if we aren't offered value. I refuse to make an investment if the return is not there. KNL a great example. Its setup for win bettors and owners thus far. If it was the big fields on Poly I'd be playing there. All I see this weekend is short fields with no value for the exception of Santa A and Gulf who always has good cards. NY I haven't bet in 3 years. Hopefully the fields will grow. And I'm not saying every race every day but these 6 and 7 fields are unplayable and that's the bottom line.
william More than 1 year ago
5 horse field with 20% takeout = NO BET there needs to be a radical overhaul on several fronts. Host tracks should only pay 3% to those handling bets on their product. It's ridiculous that bet takers can pocket 10% of a bet just for taking it. Secondly, tiered takeout. 1.5% takeout for each starter. 5 horse field = 7.5% takeout. 10 starters = 15% takeout. That is how bookmakers in the UK generally work. Third, no more direct access for the computer bettors. If you give a sharp player 3 seconds to bet after the gates open, he can have a number of scenarios planned with bets prepared for each outcome, clicking A B or C, depending on the start. I'll take 1/5 that this is happening.