Virginia betting handle figures from Advance Deposit Wagering (ADW) are in for calendar year 2015 and despite a drop of 15% from 2014, there are reasons for optimism. A total of $79,478,622 was handled in 2015 versus $93,858,388 in 2014.
EZ Horseplay, the Colonial Downs owned ADW that was top handle generator in 2014 with $34,992,284, went out of business in early April this past year and left Virginia bettors with only three on line betting partner options for most of 2015. Of the trio, TVG handled the most with $33,050,411, up 23% from its 2014 business figures. Twin Spires was second with $26,151,945 in handle, a 22% gain from the previous year, while XPressBet was third with $11,889,413, up 12% from 2014. EZ Horseplay, which accepted wagers for just over three months, was last of the four with $8,386,851.
Of the ’15 tally, $67,928,562 was wagered on thoroughbreds while $11,550,059 was bet on standardbreds, or harness races. The best handle generating months were May ($9,156,927) when two legs of the Triple Crown are traditionally held. The next three months in order — March, January and February — are during the colder weather months and at a time when Kentucky Derby prep races kick into gear. Not surprisingly, the weakest month of the year was December, when $4,581,789 in bets were accepted.
Turning to current betting opportunities, this Saturday (February 6th) is the biggest race day since last October’s Breeders’ Cup Championships. Both Gulfstream and Santa Anita feature four graded stakes EACH! The $500,000 Donn Handicap (Gr. I) & $350,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (Gr. I) headline action down south while the $500,000 San Antonio Stakes (Gr. II) & $300,000 Las Virgenes Stakes (Gr. II) headline action out west. The $100,000 Fred Hooper Handicap (Gr. III), part of Gulfstream’s undercard, was won by Virginia-bred Valid last year.
Betting is available at TVG.com, XPressBet.com, and TwinSpires.com