COLONIAL OFF-TRACK HANDLE PLUMMETS

According to the Daily Racing Form, Colonial Downs and others, the average daily handle on the 40 live race cards at Colonial Downs plummeted more than 30 percent compared with last year.

Average handle was $780,365 a day during the meet, compared with $1,118,734 during last year’s 45-day meet, according to the track’s figures. The decline was almost exclusively tied to a 35 percent drop in handle from off-site sources, where handle fell from $960,834 a day last year to $627,850 this year.

Colonial Downs was blacked out on a number of large national account-wagering sites and at the racetracks and offtrack betting locations controlled by Churchill Downs and Magna Entertainment because of a dispute with the site’s operators over the requirements of a state law that went into effect July 1, four weeks after Colonial’s meet started. That takes such racetracks as Laurel, Gulfstream, Calder, Arligton Park, Santa Anita and Churchill Downs, as well as any OTBs they operate, out of the Colonial Downs wagering system.

In addition, popular ADW platform You Bet also refused to take wagers on Colonial Downs’ races. They too publicly claim to be protesting the legislation that requires all licensed ADW companies to pay a 10% source market fee and a 1% Breeders Fund contribution on all wagers placed by their Virginia customers. YouBet contends that their current contract with the Virginia HBPA and Colonial Downs supersedes the new law.

Ontrack, business held even with last year’s results, with average handle at $128,141, up 1 percent from last year.

Field size, at 8.93 horses per race, also remained strong, at a track that is known for attracting large fields to its turf races, which represented 72 percent of the races run.