International edition
December 01, 2020

According to data released by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board 

Pennsylvania: racing handle drops by more than 10% in 2019

Pennsylvania: racing handle drops by more than 10% in 2019
Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Dauphin County.
United States | 08/17/2020

The decrease of more than $36.1 million from the previous year is part of a long downward trend, as the taxable handle has dropped every year since the reporting began. In 2006, the taxable handle from all tracks was just under $976 million.

T

he Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board released the Annual Racetrack Casino Benchmark Report detailing the impact of Pennsylvania casinos on the Commonwealth’s horse racing industry.  The report is now available for download from the PGCB’s web site https://gamingcontrolboard.pa.gov.

The report includes and compares information from calendar year 2019. 

The taxable handle generated by Pennsylvania’s six race tracks dropped by more than 10.7% in 2019 to around $300 million, the report shows, a  decrease of more than $36.1 million from the previous year.

The taxable handle has dropped every year since the reporting began. In 2006, the taxable handle from all tracks was just under $976 million.

That means handle fell by more than two-thirds in 13 years. The taxable handle was cut in half by 2013 when it dropped to $480.6 million.

That’s not unique to PA, the report notes, and is due to a decreasing demand for retail horse betting.

Among the report’s findings is that tax revenue generated by the play of slot machines amounted to $238 million which was earmarked for enhancing purses, assisting breeding operations, providing health and pension benefits for horsemen, and supporting agricultural initiatives.

The report also shows that casinos that have racetracks continue to invest in backstretch improvements. Since 2006, operators have spent over $74.5 million to build or renovate buildings and structures.

The horse racing tracks operating in conjunction with casinos in Pennsylvania are:

Thoroughbred

  • Parx Casino in Bucks County
  • Presque Isle Downs & Casino in Erie County
  • Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Dauphin County

Harness

  • The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in Luzerne County
  • The Meadows Casino and Racetrack in Washington County
  • Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino and Racetrack in Delaware County

Additionally, the report and its accompanying detailed statistical summary, provides a 5-year historical summary on:

  • A breakdown of PA Race Horse Development Trust Fund distributions;
  • Figures for breeding of both thoroughbred and standardbred horses;
  • Number of live races held in Pennsylvania and number of horses competing;
  • Purses awarded; and
  • Taxable handle and live racing handle.

See the full report here.

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