Day At The Track

U.S. harness racing economic indicators

05:44 PM 07 Jan 2021 NZDT
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Columbus, OH - With the suspension of harness racing for about three months during 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, total wagering at all U.S. harness tracks for the year was down by 18.39 percent from $1,424,886,558 in 2019 to $1,162,848,201, a decrease of $263,038,357.

In addition, the amount of purses distributed was down significantly by 30.82 percent. In 2020, horsemen earned a total of $304,059,115 a decrease of $135,486,904 from the $439,546,019 in 2019 purses.

The 2,358 race days in 2020 was 1,066 less than the 3,424 race days in 2019, a 31.13 percent decrease.

Despite all of the lost race days, the per race wagering average increased by 10.5 percent from $5,008 in 2019 to $5,534 in 2020.

To better understand the negative impact that the COVID-19 pandemic and the lengthy suspension of racing during 2020 had on the numbers, the economic indicators are broken down into three categories.

1. The year-to-year economic indicators for 2020 compared to 2019.

2. The "Before COVID" economic indicators before the shutdowns caused by the pandemic comparing Jan. 1 to March 22, 2020 to the same timeframe in 2019.

3. The "After COVID" economic indicators after tracks resumed racing following the shutdowns comparing June 1 to Dec. 31, 2020 to the same timeframe in 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Following are the comparative economic indicators for U.S. harness racing from 2019 to 2020.

ECONOMIC INDICATORS ON U.S. RACES

YEAR-TO-YEAR COMPARISON

Jan. 1 – Dec. 31, 2020

 

2020

2019

% Change

Total Wagered

$1,162,848,201

$1,424,886,558

-18.39%

Per Race avg.

$45,140

$39,991

+12.87%

Per Betting Interest

$5,534

$5,008

+10.50%

Purses

$304,059,115

$439,546,019

-30.82%

Race Days

2,358

3,424

-31.13%

 

BEFORE COVID

Jan. 1 – March 22, 2020

 

2020

2019

% Change

Total Wagered

$299,074,258

$315,189,172

-5.11%

Per Race avg.

$52,756

$56,976

-7.41%

Per Betting Interest

$6,594

$6,975

-5.46%

Purses

$53,949,205

$52,804,155

+2.17%

Race Days

474

455

+4.18%

 

AFTER COVID

June 1 – Dec. 31, 2020

 

2020

2019

% Change

Total Wagered

$844,385,389

$796,464,289

+6.02%

Per Race avg.

$42,414

$35,097

+20.85%

Per Betting Interest

$5,173

$4,414

+17.20%

Purses

$248,668,418

$306,707,985

-18.92%

Race Days

1,866

2,339

-20.22%

 

“Obviously it was a very difficult year for everyone in harness racing, especially for our horsemen, racetracks and everyone whose employment depends on our industry,” said USTA Executive Vice President and CEO Mike Tanner. “All of them should be commended for their efforts and compliance with the required health and safety measures that allowed us to return to racing. And we’d like to thank all of our loyal harness racing fans for their continued support through tough times.”

Please note:  The information above includes U.S. and Canadian common and separate pool wagers on races contested in the U.S.

Dan Leary

Director of Marketing and Communications

 

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