NY Racing Association Makes Big Deal with Churchill for Piece of United Tote

NY Racing Association Makes Big Deal with Churchill for Piece of United Tote
By Lou Monaco
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

There are two big weekends to go in the current Saratoga Race Course meet and a deal between two major racing entities could attract new customers, broaden thoroughbred racing’s outreach among fans and enhance interest in New York sports betting.

Kentucky-based Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) announced late last week it has entered into an agreement to sell 49% of United Tote Company to a subsidiary of the New York Racing Association, NYRA Content Management Solutions.

Pending regulatory approvals, the deal is expected to be finalized by the end of this year. As part of the agreement, United Tote’s pari-mutuel settlements business will be excluded and will remain with CDI.

Both companies will be working together to expand horse racing onto current New York sports betting apps and platforms to broaden and attract a new customer base.

Once the deal is finalized, the NYRA will move its pari-mutuel wager processing to United Tote in 2023 under a separate agreement.

Currently, United Tote operates pari-mutuel wagering systems for more than 150 racing companies and numerous off-track betting (OTB) facilities in North America and around the world.

Saratoga Meet on Track for Record-Breaking Numbers

The 40-day 2022 Saratoga meet is a little more than halfway complete and numbers are looking strong for wagering and attendance.

For the first 20 days of the meet, on-track betting total was more than $72.9 million dollars, a 7.5% increase from $67.91 million in 2021.

The average daily handle has been more than $21.54 million, up from $20 million last year.

And this is with two big weekends to go. That includes Saturday’s Alabama Stakes and the 153rd running of the $1.25 million Travers on Aug. 27.

Attendance also has been stellar with more than 512,000 paid admissions (20 days) walking through the turnstiles in upstate New York as compared to a little more than 502,000 in 2021. 
 
In back-to-back years, 204 races were contested over the first 20 days. This year an average field size for each race was just below eight per at 7.85.

Saratoga’s meet concludes on Labor Day, Sept. 5.

Following the opening weekend of NFL betting in New York, the state’s racing resume with a 28-day Belmont Park fall meet.

The meet starts on Thursday, Sept. 15 and runs thru Sunday, Oct. 30, with live racing each week Thursday-Sunday.

Sports Betting Needs Football Boost

While Saratoga is having a record meet in many ways, New York sportsbooks could use a boost after posting its lowest handle month to date in July.

For the first time since sports wagering started in the Empire State in January, the state’s overall monthly handle dropped below $1 billion last month. The New York State Gaming Commission reported a handle of $800.75 million, way, way down from the June total of $1.05 billion.

NewYorkBets.com is a good source to follow the state’s sports betting reports and also the best NY betting promos.

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Contributors

Lou Monaco has been a columnist for Gaming Today in Las Vegas and has over 30 years sports experience with previous stints at ESPN SportsTicker, Daily Racing Form and Oddschecker.

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