Day At The Track

Big M 2019 handle a "mixed bag"

03:44 AM 07 Jan 2020 NZDT
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East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands 2019 handle was a mixed bag. The amount bet on Meadowlands harness racing was up significantly while the wagering on imported signals at the facility continued to decline.

The amount wagered on The Meadowlands exported signal swelled to $216,983,907 over 90 dates for an average of $2.4 million, a 26% increase over the 2018 total of $172,445,226 (86 dates / average $2 million) resulting in a revenue gain of slightly less than $2 million year over year.

Per race handle was up 6% at $186,573 vs $175,071. 

The 2019 handle on Meadowlands live races bet in the building was at $17,554,967 (average $195,055), a 7% increase over the 2018 figure.

It is clear that the catalyst was increased purses, spurred by a $6 million supplement endowed to The Meadowlands by New Jersey legislators, resulting in more horses to race and in turn more races and fuller fields.

The number of races (1163 / 12.9 per card) increased by 15%, up 178 over 2018 (985 / 11.5). The number of horses that raced at The Meadowlands in 2019 was 10,330 (up nearly 20% over 2018) for an average field size of 8.88 vs 2018 totals of 8,307 horses or 8.43 per race.

However, the wagering on imported signals continues to trend downward. The 2019 total bet on imports of $127,579,985 was 9% lower than 2018 over a like number of dates. Unfortunately, that 9% dip offset the gains made on the Meadowlands live races.

The import decline is largely as a result of bettor convenience. Each passing year, a larger percentage of the simulcast wagering is drawn to the various Advance Deposit Wagering (ADW) platforms and other remote options rather than traveling to The Meadowlands to bet on the races.

The Meadowlands has been granted 92 race dates for 2020 featuring nearly $14 million in stakes purses. This season will present differently with live racing continuing through September 19 then dark until the Fall/Winter meet begins on November 27. 

2020 is off to a promising beginning with the first $3 million handle card already in the books. It is our hope that the trend on live will continue to grow. 

by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands

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