Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Gulfstream Continues "No Spectators" Racing, But Handle Matches Last Season's Pace


By Jim Freer and Barry Unterbrink

Gulfstream Park is not open for general spectators because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but from off-track sources such as Advance Deposit Wagering (ADW) it still had an impressive $11,772,202 in total handle on eleven races on Sunday.

That number is from Equibase's chart on Gulfstream's races. HorseRacingFLA's review of that data shows that the Hallandale Beach, Fla., track is keeping pace in handle with its 2019-2020 championship meet, when it allowed spectators from early December through mid-March.

Gulfstream's average daily handle was approximately $9.1 million for 19 race days through this past Sunday Dec, 27.  Through Dec. 29, 2019  that average for 22 race days was approximately $8.9 million.

Our review shows that Gulfstream's average daily handle for its 2019-2020 championship meet, which ended March 29, was $11.3 million-its best ever for a race meet.

Gulfstream has not allowed regular spectators since March 15.  This month, it has luxury suite rentals and other private viewing of races available on what it calls a limited basis.

Gulfstream and Equibase do not routinely provide breakdowns of how much handle is on-track  and  how much is from various off-track components.

However, it should be noted that Gulfstream's significant growth in handle, amid the industry's slight handle decline, took place during a year when the ADW share of  betting on U.S. thoroughbred races shot up from about 40 percent to about 70 percent.

Betting on ADWs has grown in tandem with Gulfstream's handle, and it appears that ADWs have been a very large part of Gulfstream's increases.  This month, ADWs  probably are making up for the vast majority of its temporary loss of on-track bets.

An ADW is linked to a client's bank account to provide funds for betting. 

Among the largest ADWs are: 1/ST BET, owned by The Stronach Group which  also owns Gulfstream; Twinspires, owned  by Churchill Downs Inc.: TVG, owned by Flutter Inc.: and DRF Bets, owned by Daily Racing Form.

The Thoroughbred Idea Foundation, a Lexington, Ky.-based research group, pointed us to this data:

 *The Oregon Racing Commission, a regulator of ADWs, reported that ADW betting on  U.S. thoroughbred races was about $4.0 billion between April and September this year.

*Equibase's monthly Economic Indicators reports show that  total      betting was $5.8 billion on races at U.S. thoroughbred  tracks during those six months.  Those reports are based on data  that tracks  provide to Equibase.

Our review of Equibase charts shows that Gulfstream's  total handle was about $610 million, or $5.6 million per day, during the  six months between April and September 2019.

For those six months this year, Gulfstream's total handle soared to  about  $1.02 billion. That is a per day average of $9.6 million over 107 race days. 


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HorseRacing FLA staff