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US Wagering Plunges 11% In 6 Weeks

Thursday, 24th July 2008

Wagering has dropped 11% on North American racing since the end of the Triple Crown series, "a disturbing trend that can be attributed to a variety of factors," reported bloodhorse.com. Bets placed on US & Canadian racing dropped US$209,860,208 from a similar 6-weeks period following the 2007 Gr1 Belmont Stakes; & this year's total handle of US$1,691,643,357 wagered from June 8-July 20 "is also between 5.5% & 7.4% less than any similar period from 2003-2006". Reasons suggested for the decline include: the "national economy & oil/gas prices headline pressures working over the industry from the outside; signal disruptions from revenue disputes & integrity issues from the inside". Thoroughbred Racing Association vice-president Chris Scherf (whose Maryland-based organisation is a coalition of more than 40 racetracks) "feels the decline can't be blamed on 1 or 2 issues, but is likely fueled by a broad spectrum of factors in & out of the industry". He summed up: "There is a significant drop in the casino industry, if you look at the Atlantic City numbers from around here. Some think that is a general reflection of the economy. I wouldn't underestimate the prices of gas either. And there is an obvious impact from cutting off simulcast signals to various places. But to apportion it at this point exactly, I can't do it." (To read other industry opinions, click on the link in The Great Debate panel on the right-hand side of this page.)

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