Is Horse Racing Dead? Maryland Jockey Club Reports Spike in 2016 Handle

The Maryland Jockey Club continued growing its Thoroughbred product and handle in 2016, announcing last month that total handle was up 19.7% from 2015 and in-state wagering was up 18.4%…

Source: Maryland Jockey Club Reports Spike in 2016 Handle

Is Horse Racing Dead? Gulfstream Park Reported Strong 2016

Gulfstream Park paddock Gulfstream Park announced a record $1.774 billion was wagered via Gulfstream Park in 2016, a 9-percent increase over the previous record of $1.625 billion in 2015.

Gulfstream also announced a record $1.508 billion was wagered on its live races in 2016, a 13-percent increase from the previous record of $1.338 billion in 2015.

Gulfstream’s record handle was produced in part by signature racing events like the Florida Derby, Fountain of Youth, Opening Day Claiming Crown, Sire Stakes, Sunshine Millions and Holy Bull. Gulfstream also continued hosting signature events, including the prestigious Eclipse Awards.

“Our record handle in 2016 shows us we’re on the right path in growing our Championship Meet and reinvigorating summer racing in Florida,” said P.J. Campo, General Manager of Gulfstream Park and Vice President of Racing for The Stronach Group, Gulfstream’s parent company. “We continue to see the top horses and stables race each winter at Gulfstream, but we’re also witnessing more interest in our summer program now that it has become established and producing quality racing and young stars.

“We believe we will continue to grow in 2017. We have an incredible year ahead of us. We’re looking forward to once again hosting the Eclipse Awards on Jan. 21, watching classic contenders begin to develop in the Holy Bull, Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby, and playing host to the richest horse race in the world – the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational – featuring California Chrome and Arrogate on Jan. 28.

“Our success is only possible because of our great equine athletes, jockeys, horsemen supporting our program from throughout the world, and the fans, who continue to offer great suggestions to help us grow our customer service.

Proposed Changes to IRS Horse Racing Withholding would be Huge Win

Proposed changes to horse racing withholding would be huge win for players.

“With horseracing’s all-important Triple Crown season fast approaching, the NTRA urges Treasury and the Service to adopt the proposed regulations as final regulations as soon as it is administratively feasible.

Source: Proposed changes to horse racing withholding would be huge win

Easy Way for Bettors to Contact the United States Treasury Department

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) has announced that a system has been established at https://www.ntra.com/comment for individuals to submit an e-mail comment directly to the United States Treasury Department in support of newly proposed regulations related to withholding and reporting of pari-mutuel winnings.

Washington DC The proposed regulations, which would replace outdated regulations adopted nearly 40 years ago, more accurately reflect today’s pari-mutuel wagering environment and will positively impact a significant percentage of winning wagers, particularly those involving multi-horse or multi-race exotic wagers. It is believed that the proposed changes will result in tens of millions of dollars in additional pari-mutuel wagering annually. If adopted, the new regulations will not only  promote greater compliance and more accurate reporting and withholding by taxpayers but also reduce burdensome and needless paperwork system-wide.

Efforts spearheaded by the NTRA on behalf of the industry over the past two and a half years came to fruition on December 30 when Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) published proposed guidelines designed to modernize withholding and reporting regulations. The 31-page Treasury document, “Withholding on Payments of Certain Gambling Winnings,” clarifies the phrase “the amount of the wager” to include the entire amount wagered into a specific pari-mutuel pool by an individual–not just the winning base unit as is the case today.

In the NTRA’s official response to Treasury on behalf of the industry, submitted Wednesday, NTRA President and CEO Alex Waldrop thanked the Treasury and IRS for recognizing the need to modernize regulations related to the withholding and reporting of pari-mutuel winnings and noted that the newly proposed regulations sufficiently address the industry’s concerns. Waldrop asked the Treasury and IRS to enact the new regulations as quickly as possible following a 90-day comment period that concludes on March 30.

This will positively impact a significant percentage of winning wagers, particularly those involving multi-horse or multi-race exotic wagers.

“With horseracing’s all-important Triple Crown season fast approaching, the NTRA urges Treasury and the Service to adopt the proposed regulations as final regulations as soon as it is administratively feasible. Horseplayers, tracks and other industry stakeholders, including governments, are eager to begin reaping the benefits that will result from these updated withholding and reporting rules,” Waldrop said.

The public comment system at NTRA.com/comment provides each person with a clear, consistent message asking the Treasury to adopt the proposed regulations and urging prompt action.

“A unified message of support is critical as the industry urges Treasury and the IRS to finalize the proposed regulations,” Waldrop added. “We ask all who participate in the horse racing industry to submit a comment to Treasury and the IRS using the NTRA system so that we can send the message loud and clear that all of horse racing supports these changes.”

Japan’s $22.5 Billion Passion for Horse Racing

CNN International Japan’s $22.5 billion passion for horse racing.  This year has been the first time that the Japanese have been able to wager on foreign races, and they’ve certainly leaped at the opportunity.  In fact,  on the Arc they wagered more than the people of France!

CNN International: “This is one reason why horse racing is so popular here … The Japanese are very much enjoying placing their money on foreign races.” The profit created by betting is reinvested into racing prize funds by the Japan Racing Association (JRA), meaning … and more »  READ THE FULL ARTICLE BELOW:

Source: Japan’s $22.5 billion passion for horse racing

IRS Proposes Major, Positive Changes for Horseplayers

Special thanks to my friends and fellow horseplayers Judy Wagner and Chris Larmey , who were very instrumental in getting this done.  Judy and Chris traveled to Washington D. C. this past year to meet with U.S. Treasury officials to discuss the problems with the current pari-mutuel tax system and propose solutions for all of us players.  ~ Rich Nilsen

DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY AND IRS ISSUE PROPOSED REGS TO MODERNIZE PARI-MUTUEL WITHHOLDING AND REPORTING

Lexington, Ky. (December 29, 2016) – The Department of Treasury and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) today issued newly proposed regulations relating to withholding and reporting with respect to pari-mutuel winnings. The 31-page Treasury document, entitled“Withholding on Payments of Certain Gambling Winnings,” accomplishes the goals started and spearheaded by the NTRA more than two years ago. The effort to this point has included meetings between the NTRA and Treasury and IRS officials, visits to Washington by horseplayers, grass roots campaigns and direct contact involving thousands of industry stake holders, including bettors, as well as involvement by numerous Members of Congress, Governors and other elected officials.

Chris Larmey

The proposed regulations clarify ‘the amount of the wager’ to include the entire amount wagered into a specific pari-mutuel pool by an individual—not just the winning base unit as is the case today—so long as all wagers made into a specific pool by an individual are made on a single totalizator ticket if the wager is placed onsite. The proposed regulations would have the same positive results for Advance Deposit Wagering (ADW) customers and would not impact how those wagers are currently made.

The proposed regulations will positively impact a significant percentage of winning wagers, particularly those involving multi-horse or multi-race exotic wagers, and result in tens of millions of dollars in additional pari-mutuel churn.

The proposed regulations will undergo a 90-day comment period and it is conceivable that they could be in place prior to the 2017 Triple Crown. As was the case during a similar comment period in 2015 that attracted nearly 12,000 comments, the NTRA next week will establish a convenient and simple method for industry stakeholders to encourage enactment of the proposed regulations.

In its 31-page rulemaking document, the Treasury and IRS cited numerous specific examples provided by the NTRA as reasons for the need to modernize and also referred to the many comments it received from individuals in support of the proposed changes.

“This is a tremendous step forward in our ongoing efforts to modernize pari-mutuel regulations to accurately reflect today’s wagering environment,” NTRA President and CEO Alex Waldrop said. “The NTRA remains thankful to everyone who has engaged in this process, including numerous industry stake holders, horseplayers, Members of Congress, Governors and other elected officials, especially Congressmen John Yarmuth (D-KY) and Charles Boustany (R-LA), who led the congressional effort. A unified message has gotten us to this point and we encourage everyone to continue to work through the channels we will be establishing as we seek to push these proposed regulations across the goal line.”

The complete Treasury and IRS rulemaking document is posted on NTRA.com and can be accessed here.

Woodbine Racecourse Reports Big 2016 Season

Woodbine via WO FB page“The clockwise turf racing concept added a fresh dimension to our racing program and attracted attention from across the world,” said Via. “We have a great gem of a racecourse in the E.P. Taylor Turf Course and turf racing at Woodbine is thriving. The Tapeta and the turf track will continue to be strong complementary offerings for our horsepeople.”

 

Woodbine Entertainment Group announced that wagering on Woodbine’s 2016 live Thoroughbred racing season, which concluded Sunday, December 4, rose sharply over the previous year’s meet.

The 133-day season produced an “all-sources” handle of $469,452,009, a 7.1% per cent increase over the $438,185,077 figure recorded from 133 dates in 2015.

“We saw tremendous growth in our Thoroughbred racing product,” said Sean Pinsonneault, Executive Vice President of Strategy and Wagering. “We had record handles for all of our signature race days and customers are responding to our blend of entertaining racing and great fan experiences. Unfortunately, even with the growth, the revenue from the wagering is declining in Ontario due to the increased costs of simulcast racing content and mandatory deductions. WEG remains committed to working with government and industry stakeholders to reform the model and secure the future of this industry in the province.”

Wagering was up 4.1% in the Greater Toronto area on Woodbine Thoroughbred racing.

Woodbine posted substantial wagering gains on each of its three biggest days.

The Queen’s Plate, which had its 157th running in 2015, had a record wagering total of $11.8 million for the July 3 card. The on-track experience was enhanced to present more food trucks, fashion and music, including headlining bands that played well into the evening.

The Plate, with 37,063 in attendance, was won by Sir Duddly Digges.

Ricoh Woodbine Mile day, on September 17, recorded a handle of $9.6 million, shattering the 2015 mark of $7.1 million, while the Pattison Canadian International card, on October 16, had wagering of $9.2 million, eclipsing 2015 mark of $6.4 million.

Sunday’s final programm also established a mark for a Woodbine meet finale card, with $7.4 million wagered, surpassing the 2015 record of $6.5 million. The card included the second Jackpot Hi-5 mandatory payout this year with over $1 million up for grabs and a payout of $39,500.65 for a 20-cent ticket.

In April, Woodbine introduced Tapeta as its new main racing surface and it was well received by many racing fans and industry participants.

“In the first year with a new racing surface, we’re quite pleased with how the Tapeta performed especially in the second half of the season after adjustments to our track maintenance protocol were performed,” said Tom Via, Senior Vice President of Operations.

Woodbine also introduced clockwise turf racing in June. Twenty-two races were conducted at five and 5 1/2-furlong distances. The track ran a record 236 grass races in 2016.

“The clockwise turf racing concept added a fresh dimension to our racing program and attracted attention from across the world,” said Via. “We have a great gem of a racecourse in the E.P. Taylor Turf Course and turf racing at Woodbine is thriving. The Tapeta and the turf track will continue to be strong complementary offerings for our horsepeople.”

Purses paid out in 2016 totalled $70.6 million, including a stakes program worth $19.5 million (101 added-money races). Field size rose to 8.4 horses per race in 2016, up from 8.1 horses per race in 2015.

Opening day for the 2017 Thoroughbred racing season, also set for 133 dates, is scheduled for April 15, 2017.

Standardbred racing continues at Woodbine through the winter, including a special Boxing Day card that features a 1:00 p.m. post-time. This Friday features a huge mandatory payout of the Super Hi-5 Jackpot wager.

Bet Like No Other Marketing Campaign tied to 2016 Breeders’ Cup

The Breeders' Cup at KeenelandLEXINGTON, Ky. (August 18, 2016) — The Breeders’ Cup announced a new marketing campaign available to all simulcast outlets designed to promote wagering on this year’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park, November 4-5. Titled “Bet Like No Other,” the campaign will focus on the tremendous wagering opportunities and excitement of betting on the two greatest days in the sport of Thoroughbred racing.

The “Bet Like No Other” campaign will feature a :30 second television commercial, print, poster, radio and digital banner advertising and “edutainment” GIFs (Graphics Interchange Formats) to be used on social and digital media. All creative assets can be tagged by racetracks, OTB’s and casinos with a local message and are available for download on the Breeders’ Cup partner website.

The campaign will also be supported by a panel of wagering influencers who will take part in a month-long, charity driven program to raise awareness about betting the Breeders’ Cup. The four influencers are ESPN personality Kenny Mayne (@kenny_mayne), who finished 9th in the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge; 2012 National Handicapping Championship Champion and co-owner of The Tournament Edge Michael Beychock (@beychockRacing); Renowned author and columnist Joel Stein (@thejoelstein) and social media wagering guru Monique Vag (@parlayqueen).

Beginning October 1, each wagering influencer will wager up to $2,000 on three NBC Sports telecasts of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In – Presented by Lane’s End Farm and America’s Best Racing. The competition will end with the Breeders’ Cup on November 4-5 and each panelists bankroll will be donated to the charity of their choice with the Breeders’ Cup guaranteeing at least a $1,000 donation to each.

The two-day Breeders’ Cup is one of the world’s greatest wagering events, featuring some of the largest payouts on straight and exotic wagers during the calendar year. Last year, a total of $155.5 million was wagered on the races worldwide.

“While there are many popular aspects that people enjoy about the Breeders’ Cup, wagering on greatest races in the world is second to none,” said Justin McDonald, vice president of marketing. “Our goal is to ensure partner simulcast outlets have a successful Breeders’ Cup weekend and this campaign provides them the tools to reinforce the thrill, excitement and large potential payouts presented to all horseplayers and sports fans during the World Championships.”

The campaign was developed by Lexington-based advertising agency CORNETT, in conjunction with Breeders’ Cup.

Northern N.J. Casino Fight has N.Y. groups jumping in with big bucks

TRENTON — New York-based groups on either side of a fall referendum to decide whether to expand casino gambling to the northern part of the state are gearing up for a fight, according to a news report. The New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council and a group backed by a Queens virtual casino operator are… [Read more…]

No Mention of the Haskell Stakes

Preakness winner Exaggerator - BenoitPhoto_AP

Preakness winner Exaggerator – BenoitPhoto_AP

According to a major New Jersey publication, there are no less than “8 spectacular events” happening in their home state of  New Jersey this weekend, but what is striking is the omission of the biggest sporting event.  The Grade 1 Haskell Invitational features the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winners – Nyquist and Exaggerator – along with numerous other stakes – yet there is no mention of this in the article.  Ironically, “horse racing” at the Meadowlands is briefly mentioned.   Horse racing, you have a problem.

~ Editor Rich Nilsen
 8 spectacular events happening in N.J. this weekend

QUICKCHEK BALLOON FEST: It’s one of the most visually dazzling summertime traditions in New Jersey. The three-day Quick Chek Balloon Festival features hundreds of hot air balloons — ranging in size, style, and design — taking flight at Solberg Airport in Readington. You can sit and marvel as these great beasts soar effortlessly through the sky,… [Read more…]