PA Slot Impact on Race Purses Report Released
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July 27, 2016
Statistics in the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission annual report for 2015
reflect how integral revenue from slot machines is to purses for Thoroughbred
and Standardbred racing at six racetrack casinos in the state.
Total wagering on live races at the six tracks last year amounted to
$720,537,799. Purses paid totaled $201,976,424, or 28% of pari-mutuel handle.
Purses derived only from handle generally run from 6%-7% on average in the
United States, according to Thoroughbred Racing Associations stats.
As expected, the percentage of alternative gaming revenue supporting purses was
lower for the three Thoroughbred tracks—Parx Racing, Hollywood Casino at Penn
National Race Course, and Presque Isle Downs & Casino than for the three
Standardbred tracks. The Thoroughbred tracks combined for $496,353,661 in
pari-mutuel handle in 2015 and Thoroughbred purses paid of $105,408,653, which
is 21% of total wagering on live races.
Harness racing purses totaled $96,567,771 at Harrah's Philadelphia, The Meadows
Racetrack & Casino, and Mohegan Sun Pocono. That figure is 43% of total handle
of $224,184,138 on live races at the three tracks.
A percentage of slots revenue at racetrack casinos and non-track casinos in
Pennsylvania goes to the Race Horse Development Fund for purses, breed
development, and other programs.
On the Thoroughbred side, Parx led the list with total wagering of $254,913,375
and purses paid of $59,905,809 in 2015. The Meadows topped the Standardbred
tracks in both categories with total handle of $100,749,974—almost 45% of total
harness betting—and $36,214,786 in purses paid last year.
The annual report shows that total tax revenue generated by pari-mutuel wagering
was $10,026,179 last year. An introduction states that $18 million to $20
million is needed to regulate horse racing in the state each year; legislation
signed into law earlier this year calls for a percentage of RHDF revenue to be
used to support racing commission operations and programs.
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