VIRGINIA OCTOBER HANDLE POSTS SECOND LARGEST DECLINE OF YEAR

At yesterday’s Virginia Racing Commission meeting figures distributed noted another decline in wagering for the month of October.

For the month, total traditional handle (live and/or OTB wagering) was down from $11,885,227 in 2008 to $9,158,118, a drop of 22.95% – the second largest decline of the year. Handle dropped 24.01% in August.

Wagering on Thoroughbred Racing declined 23.23% from $8.9 million in 2008 to $6.8 million in 2009. Harness handle fell 22.09% for the period. Overall, Thoroughbred handle for the year has declined 17.78% from $130,342,232 in 2008 to $107,171,206.

The decline in wagering has cost the Breeders Fund $173,000 to date, and the Thoroughbred purse account more than $850,000. The OTBs in the rural locations of Alberta (-42.94%) and Scott County (-41.67%) posted the sharpest declines along with Vinton (-34.4.1%), a suburb of Roanoke.

The unresolved issues regarding which signals are available to Virginia bettors is part of the problem, and the shaky economy remains a key reason for continuing declines. In 2008, the Breeders Cup was held in October while the Championship was conducted in November this year which also impacts the numbers.

Through October ADW wagering across the state has increased a modest 3.75%. The first ten months of 2008 saw $40,3444,102 was wagered through the various licensed ADW companies such as Colonials EZ Wager, YouBet, TVG, Xpress Bet and Twin Spires as opposed to $41,866,901 this year.

Almost 90% of the ADW handle is from Thoroughbred races.