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Another strong year for thoroughbred wagering; handle, purses up more than 3 percent over 2017


KyForward staff

Equibase Company, LLC has released the thoroughbred racing economic indicators for 2018 and the news is pretty good.

The statistics indicate the resurgence wagering on horse races has experienced in recent years continues.

For the fourth consecutive year, total wagering on U.S. races increased year-over-year and topped $11 billion for the first time since 2010. The bump occurred despite a decrease of 3 percent in the number of racing days in 2018 over the previous year.

In 2018, wagering on U.S. races, which includes worldwide comingled betting, was more than $11.26 billion, compared to $10.9 billion in 2017, an increase of 3.3 percent.

Thoroughbred racing economic indicators for year-end 2018 (click to enlarge).
*Includes worldwide comingled racing on U.S. races
Source: Equibase Company LLC

Alex Waldrop, president and CEO of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), said in a statement that it is also worth noting that handle was the largest since the year 2000.

“Boosted by a growing economy, a second Triple Crown winner, continued growth of racing’s big days and a full year operating under the new tax withholding and reporting regulations, 2018 proved to be a strong year for horse racing” Waldrop said. “Perhaps most intriguing were the per race day increases of 6.58 percent in handle and 6.81 percent in purses despite fewer races and race days.”

Handle is the total amount of money bet on a single race, day, season, or year

The new tax regulations, which took effect Sept. 28, 2017, recast the Treasury’s definition of the “amount of the wager” to include the entire amount wagered into a specific pari-mutuel pool by an individual rather than the prior IRS standard of using only the base amount of the winning wager.

According to statistics released by the NTRA, in the first year of operations under the new regulations, there was a $307 million reduction in the amount of winning pari-mutuel wagers reported to the IRS using form W-2G.

Equibase Company LLC is a general partnership of subsidiaries of the TRA and The Jockey Club. The Company was formed in 1991 to provide the Thoroughbred racetracks of North America with a uniform, industry-owned database of racing information and statistics. In 1998, Equibase became the sole data collection agency and provider of racing data to the Daily Racing Form.


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