ST. PETERSBURG — It was another roller-coaster year for the state's parimutuel industry.
Wagering on horses, greyhounds, standardbreds and jai alai declined again in fiscal year 2007-08 (ending June 30), while poker continued its upward trend.
In statistics released recently by the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Parimutuel Wagering, Florida's total all-source handle — live and simulcast wagering — dropped 10.2 percent from the previous year to $1,343,912,505. Poker gross receipts climbed 67.6 percent to $90,863,855.
"There is only so much (discretionary income) that people have," said Vera Filipelli, spokeswoman for Derby Lane in St. Petersburg. "Even though the parimutuel side is down, it's cyclical, like everything else. When the economy goes back up, I'm sure we'll see the parimutuel side go back up, too."
Since 2005-06, the state's total handle has dipped 12.7 percent; poker receipts have risen 104.5.
Derby Lane ranks high in 2007-08 statistics. It was second among 18 greyhound associations in total handle at $50,267,052 and fourth of 24 state card-room facilities with $7,671,407 in gross receipts. Derby Lane's total handle rose 2 percent and its poker receipts were up 2.2.
Tampa Greyhound Track ranked fifth in total handle at $29,866,381 and 13th in poker at $2,389,880. Tampa reported a total handle decline of 18.7 percent. From mid August to December 2007, Derby Lane ran racing dates for Tampa, which eliminated live racing. 2007-08 was the first in several seasons that poker receipts were reported by Tampa after previously transferring its rights to Derby Lane.
Palm Beach Kennel Club led greyhound tracks in total handle at $89,196,982 and all poker rooms in gross receipts with $10,204,278. Total handle from greyhound tracks was $406,338,030, down 14.5 percent.
Tampa Bay Downs ranked last among four thoroughbred associations in total handle at $127,568,889, a decrease of 0.4 percent. The Oldsmar poker-room gross receipts rose 220.3 percent to $4,285,957, 10th in the state. Poker rooms were aided when Senate Bill 752 became law July 1, 2007, allowing card facilities to operate without live racing.
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Times wires contributed to this report.