Friday, November 17, 2017
Sports

Year-round status boosts Tampa Bay Downs handle

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Tampa Bay Downs … up.

Derby Lane … flat.

Tampa Greyhound Track … down.

The area's parimutuel facilities covered the state spectrum in total money wagered for the 2012-13 season. Statistics for the fiscal year ending June 30 were available from the Florida Division of Parimutuel Wagering.

The big winner was the Downs, the thoroughbred track in Oldsmar. Taking advantage of its status as a year-round simulcast host (by racing live June 30 and July 1), the Downs had an 8.2 percent increase in total handle over the previous season at $96,403,306. Its major contributor was rebroadcasting simulcast signals to other state outlets, where the $39,994,362 total increased more than $10 million, a 33.7 percent rise.

In past seasons, the Downs relied on Calder for those signals once its live cards concluded and shared a large chunk of that revenue with the Miami Gardens track. In the first part of this fiscal year (July, August and September) the Downs reported inter-track simulcast handle of $20,409,159 compared with zero last year.

"We've been the beneficiary of increased volume during these summer months, which has helped our overnight purses and our stakes purses (a 15 percent increase this season)," Downs spokeswoman Margo Flynn said.

Calder has challenged the state on the Downs move, but no action has been taken. Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach is following the Downs host track lead. In the past year, Calder has lost more than $49 million in that category, a decline of 34.9 percent.

The Downs card room receipts dropped 15 percent to $4,409,513.

Derby Lane, the dog track in St. Petersburg, remains a top performer. Its total handle of $28,213,914 — down 0.7 percent — ranked second among 20 greyhound associations (Palm Beach led with $47,142,877). Derby Lane's poker room receipts were up 0.4 percent at $8,706,568, fifth-best among the state's 24 poker sites.

"We're the No. 1 nighttime track in the state (for wagering) and we're happy that we're holding that spot," Derby Lane spokeswoman Vera Rasnake said. "What's hurting our business more is the racino business model created by the greyhound tracks that have slots and us not having the same opportunity."

Tampa Greyhound, which runs its live meet at Derby Lane, reported wagering at $22,763,182, a drop of 5.4 percent. Its card room fell 2.1 percent at $2,258,834.

Overall in the state wagering on thoroughbreds increased 1.49 percent ($538,649,667). There were declines with greyhounds (2.3 percent at $258,089,743), harness racing (1.7 percent at $47,370,632) and jai alai (11.4 percent at $26,673,777).

The state's handle on thoroughbreds, greyhounds, harness racing, quarter horses and jai alai was $872,262,444, down 0.3 percent. Card room receipts were up 1.7 percent at $132,690,414.

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