Thursday, February 4, 2021 at 12:03 pm | Back to: Top News Updated: February 4, 2021 at 4:09 pm Santa Anita | Horsephotos With $959,602,269 wagered, total all-sources handle for the sport rose by 9.57% in January, according to figures released Thursday by Equibase. The January numbers reflected a fairly seamless comparison between January 2021 and January 2020 because the racing schedules for both months were not impacted by the coronavirus. There were 2,211 races run this year, only a slight drop from the 2020 number of 2,352. Based on the amount wagered per race day, the industry saw an increase of 21.6 %. Comparing figures during most of 2020 was particularly difficult because of the many adjustments that had to be made to racing schedules due to the pandemic. But it may be too early to predict what patterns are going to persist for the rest of the year because January, 2021 included five Saturdays and Sundays versus just four the year before. “I thought the month was better this year than it was last year in part because there were two more racing days on the weekends,” NTRA President and CEO Alex Waldrop said. “While it's always nice to be up 9%, I wouldn't draw any conclusions just yet. It's always good to look at something like this over time. I think we'll need three months of data before anyone can say anything definitive.” The January numbers also provide some evidence as to whether or not the sport picked up a meaningful amount of new customers while it was “the only gambling game in town” during the first few months of the pandemic. The top ADWs thrived in 2020 and most reported a large increase in terms of new customers. TVG and its sister website, FanDuel Racing, reported that it had signed up 50,000 new customers during the year. But with total handle for the year down by just less than 1%, the numbers weren't conclusive and it was hard to gauge whether or not the sport was enjoying growth or whether or not the same pool of money as normal was being bet, just spread around differently. The January numbers marked the second straight month that there was a healthy increase in handle. The sport saw a 6.24% jump in betting in December. Largely due to the fact that there was less racing, purses were down throughout much of 2020, including in December when they fell by 13.24%. But the numbers in that category seem to be evening out as purses dropped by just 1.41% during the month. Average purses per race day were $278,832, for an increase of 9.42%. Average field size was 8.09, a 1.75% improvement over January 2020. Not a subscriber? Click here to sign up for the daily PDF or alerts. This story was posted in Top News and tagged Equibase, handle, thoroughbred racing.
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