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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


By HRI Foreign Staff — For years, industry experts have been forecasting the end of horse racing betting. The general trend in race days has been down, while the arguably more significant indicators, such as purse amounts and total betting handle, are rising.

But it seems like the industry isn’t going anywhere, as the U.S. horse racing business just reported its highest annual betting handle statistics since 2009, according to Equibase‘s most recent release of economic indicator data. It’s important to remember that this occurred with more than 30% fewer races.

Key Findings from Equibase’s Release

Let’s look at the most important findings from Equibase’s release on economic indicator data.

  • In 2021, the total betting handle exceeded $12.2 billion, up 11.86% from the previous year;
  • Over $1.1 billion was spent on horse racing betting, up 35.77% from the previous year;
  • Over the previous year, U.S. racing days and total races increased by more than 20%;
  • The average field size decreased by 7.20%, from 7.94 to 7.37;
  • Over 10% more money was paid out on average every race day, bringing it close to $290,000.

The pandemic hit the industry hard in 2020. Some industries prospered, like the online gaming market. Some of the best in NJ online casinos attract hundreds of thousands of players annually. But the fact that the American horse racing business had a considerable increase despite recovering from the ravages of a pandemic, the major negative press brought on by widely reported scandals, safety concerns, and regulatory reforms brought on by new laws is particularly noteworthy.

The resilience of Thoroughbred racing was on full show in 2021, according to NTRA President and CEO Tom Rooney, as the organization ended the year with a considerable rise in revenues and total handling of more than $12 billion, the largest since 2009.

Business Has Been Brisk at U.S Tracks in 2022 file photo

Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Act

On July 1, 2022, the Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Act became law. According to industry observers, the public’s opinion of horse racing will improve with the implementation of heightened safety measures.

The Integrity and Safety Act will make a number of adjustments, including moving the duty of drug testing and law enforcement from separate state commissions to a centralized program for laboratory accreditation, drug testing, and enforcement. The change will provide horse racing with the much-needed national homogeneity.

Tom Rooney is certain that the law will ultimately be advantageous to horse racing. Customers’ wagering funds, he added, continue to support the industry, and NTRA thanked them for their support. As 2023 approaches, NTRA anticipates the start of a new era for American Thoroughbred racing with the passage of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act and an increased emphasis on horse care, safety, and the integrity of the country’s oldest sport.

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