Economic Indicators: April Wagering Dips Slightly, But Year-To-Date Figures Nearly Steady - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report
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Economic Indicators: April Wagering Dips Slightly, But Year-To-Date Figures Nearly Steady

Racing over the rebuilt Matt Winn turf course at Churchill Downs

 Equibase, North American racing's official database, has released its April statistics for the industry's economic indicators, including field size, wagering, and other data, along with 2019 and 2020 comparables. The 2019 data is included as a pre-COVID-19 comparison.

Equibase is continuing to provide monthly reporting of its Economic Indicators Advisories as a service to the industry and in consideration of the economic changes resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Advisory is typically disseminated on a quarterly basis to provide key metrics used to measure racing's performance throughout the year.

Since last year's Kentucky Oaks card fell on April 30, while this year's arrives on May 6, it is no surprise that the difference in wagering between April of 2021 and April of 2022 is a 2.06 percent decline in total wagering. Year-to-date wagering numbers, however, show a slight increase of 0.19 percent, suggesting that once the Kentucky Oaks and Derby handle are calculated and the May economic indicators are released, total wagering could be on an upswing in 2022 (pending weather on Oaks/Derby day, of course!).

Average daily wagering, however, has continued to dip (down 4.82 percent YTD, 2022 vs. 2021) as the number of race days has increased at a rate higher than that of the total dollars being wagered; i.e., more tracks are competing for the same number of wagering dollars. Again, it will be interesting to see how the Oaks and Derby figures affect this ratio.

It appears more tracks are also competing for the same number of horses, as average field size continues to show declines, down 2.57 percent year-to-date (2022 vs. 2021) and three percent when compared to pre-COVID levels.

Showing strength is the purse money in the United States, up 15.17 percent from April of 2021 to April of 2022 and just over 14 percent for the first four months of the year.

Obviously, April of 2020 saw the majority of the COVID shutdowns of horse racing across the United States, so again it isn't surprising to see massive differences in the numbers for that month versus April of 2022. Interestingly, however, the pre-COVID numbers from 2019 show a year-to-date wagering increase of 14.64 percent for the first four months of 2022.

April 2022 vs. April 2021
Indicator April 2022 April 2021 % Change
Wagering on U.S. Races* $1,079,452,871 $1,102,169,529 -2.06%
U.S. Purses $103,144,902 $89,560,470 +15.17%
U.S. Race Days 293 279 +5.02%
U.S. Races 2,489 2,425 +2.64%
U.S. Starts 18,275 18,039 +1.31%
Average Field Size 7.34 7.44 -1.30%
Average Wagering Per Race Day $3,684,139 $3,950,428 -6.74%
Average Purses Per Race Day $352,030 $321,005 +9.66%

 

YTD 2022 vs. YTD 2021
Indicator YTD 2022 YTD 2021 % Change
Wagering on U.S. Races* $3,875,813,161 $3,868,335,866 +0.19%
U.S. Purses $347,898,090 $304,558,627 +14.23%
U.S. Race Days 1,100 1,045 +5.26%
U.S. Races 9,257 9,127 +1.42%
U.S. Starts 69,421 70,250 -1.18%
Average Field Size 7.50 7.70 -2.57%
Average Wagering Per Race Day $3,523,467 $3,701,757 -4.82%
Average Purses Per Race Day $316,271 $291,444 +8.52%

2020 Comparisons:

April 2022 vs. April 2020
Indicator April 2022 April 2020 % Change
Wagering on U.S. Races* $1,079,452,871 $639,331,643 +68.84%
U.S. Purses $103,144,902 $17,500,400 +489.39%
U.S. Race Days 293 85 +244.71%
U.S. Races 2,489 746 +233.65%
U.S. Starts 18,275 6,810 +168.36%
Average Field Size 7.34 9.13 -19.57%
Average Wagering Per Race Day $3,684,139 $7,521,549 -51.02%
Average Purses Per Race Day $352,030 $205,887 +70.98%

YTD 2022 vs. YTD 2020
Indicator YTD 2022 YTD 2020 % Change
Wagering on U.S. Races* $3,875,813,161 $3,147,861,049 +23.13%
U.S. Purses $347,898,090 $222,728,051 +56.20%
U.S. Race Days 1,100 878 +25.28%
U.S. Races 9,257 7,362 +25.74%
U.S. Starts 69,421 58,783 +18.10%
Average Field Size 7.50 7.98 -6.08%
Average Wagering Per Race Day $3,523,467 $3,585,263 -1.72%
Average Purses Per Race Day $316,271 $253,677 +24.67%

2019 Comparisons:

April 2022 vs. April 2019
Indicator April 2022 April 2019 % Change
Wagering on U.S. Races* $1,079,452,871 $845,958,246 +27.60%
U.S. Purses $103,144,902 $85,910,830 +20.06%
U.S. Race Days 293 311 -5.79%
U.S. Races 2,489 2,612 -4.71%
U.S. Starts 18,275 19,728 -7.37%
Average Field Size 7.34 7.55 -2.79%
Average Wagering Per Race Day $3,684,139 $2,720,123 +35.44%
Average Purses Per Race Day $352,030 $276,241 +27.44%

YTD 2022 vs. YTD 2019
Indicator YTD 2022 YTD 2019 % Change
Wagering on U.S. Races* $3,875,813,161 $3,380,927,018 +14.64%
U.S. Purses $347,898,090 $313,030,470 +11.14%
U.S. Race Days 1,100 1,155 -4.76%
U.S. Races 9,257 9,902 -6.51%
U.S. Starts 69,421 76,558 -9.32%
Average Field Size 7.50 7.73 -3.00%
Average Wagering Per Race Day $3,523,467 $2,927,210 +20.37%
Average Purses Per Race Day $316,271 $271,022 +16.70%

* Includes worldwide commingled wagering on U.S. races.

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