Tuesday, January 06, 2009
Strong decline in US handle Q4

According to data released on 6 January by Equibase, a Jockey Club subsidiary, total US betting on thoroughbred horseracing in 2008 decreased seven percent (-7.16%) compared to 2007 with both prize money (-1.33%) and races days (-1.18%) each down one percent. During the month of December, total wagering was down 20 percent (-20.30%) on 35 fewer days of racing as compared to December of 2007. This contributed to a fourth quarter decline of 12 percent (-11.99%) year over year.

The fourth quarter was an extremely challenging one due in large part to the worldwide economic slowdown and other internal factors. Results in December were strongly compromised by a major drop in racing days brought about at least in part by a calendar that was unusually short on weekend dates,” said Alex Waldrop, president and CEO of the NTRA. “While the overall year-end figures compare favorably in some ways with those of many other sports and industries, it was nevertheless a very difficult 2008 for virtually every segment of the racing industry. There were bright spots, including many spectacular performances on the racetrack and progress on the equine safety and integrity front. The new year brings renewed hope, but also the sobering reality that any economic recovery will likely be a slow process. As an industry, we must remain focused on retaining and growing our fan base, and we must continue to vigorously promote our game, which remains one of the great values in all of sports.”

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