Higher Handle, Reduced Revenues At Tioga

Management of Tioga Downs today announced mixed results from their across-the-board takeout reduction in 2010. While handle increased by 7.8 per cent, wagering revenues fell from 2009


Earlier in the year, Tioga Downs and the Southern Tier Harness Horsemen’s Association implemented a lower takeout rate for the 2010 race season (all takeout rates were lowered to New York state minimums). With most other handles in North American harness racing declining, despite the declines, the results of the takeout initiative were considered “promising.”

While the takeout rate reduction at Tioga resulted in an actual revenue loss in 2010 compared to 2009, management continues to feel that as part of repairing the 'broken business model in harness racing,' the takeout reduction continues to be worthwhile.

The announcement states, 'The horseplayers have spoken and they want more value on the product they are betting on. It’s past time to look at our business model and make adjustments, and we have to begin with the most important piece of the puzzle, the bettors. With the high amount of product available for bettors to wager on they are going to go where they are getting the best value and we believe that we are providing that for them at Tioga.'

In comparison, Vernon Downs’ 2010 takeout rates stayed the same as what they were in 2009, and the total handle in 2010 showed a 5.6 per cent decrease. The live on-track handle for the Vernon Downs season was only down just under 1 per cent, but the export number plummeted at Vernon Downs in 2010 with a 9.5 per cent decrease in export compared to 2009.

In addition to the takeout decrease, Jason M. Settlemoir, the tracks' vice president of racing and simulcast, said that keeping the best horses racing longer is also a target.

“Hopefully we will someday also provide our customer with a better product by keeping our stars racing as we recently saw by the dramatic increase in news coverage and TV ratings when Zenyatta raced in the Breeders’ Cup,” he said.

(With files from Tioga/Vernon)


"The most important piece of the puzzle the betters". How can the Management of Tioga Downs know so much more than everyone else, especially those "Stakeholders in Harness Racing"?!!

Great job guys.

Remember: Tampa Bay Downs lowered takeout in 2001. In 2002 it did not "pay for itself". But they lowered it again in 2003, and 2004 and 2007 and 2008 and 2009.

In 2001 the average daily handle at Tampa was $1.8 million.

In 2010 (what bad economy?!) Tampa's daily handle set a new all time record of $4.2 million dollars.

Rome was not built in a day and 100+ years of high prices which have killed racing will not be fixed in one meet.

Keep up the good work!

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