Sunday, June 07, 2009
US wagering decline slows down

The Daily Racing Form reports that wagering declines on Thoroughbred racing in the United States continued but slowed in May. It is based upon figures released 6 June by Equibase, the industry data-collection firm. Purses also declined, but to a lesser degree.

Total handle in May was $1,375,229,442, down 8.26 percent from May 2008. Purses fell 6.73 percent to $105,106,967 from their levels in May 2008. The number of race days also dropped 4.93 percent, from 629 last May to 598, a factor that helped drive handle down.

May's losses showed improvement over those in April, when wagering fell by 10 percent and purses slipped 9 percent from April 2008.

The May figures include handle on the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. The Derby's all-sources handle was down 8.7 percent this year, but all-sources wagering on the Preakness soared by 30 percent to its second-highest level ever at $59,726,342.

For the year through the end of May, wagering decreased 9.22 percent from the first five months of 2008 to $5,510,415,896 this year.

Again, the drop in purses was shallower for that time frame, at 5.54 percent to $403,346,939.

Race dates during that period declined by less than 1 percent, falling from 2,216 last year to 2,194 this season.

The Equibase figures include worldwide commingled wagering on U.S. races.