A crowd of 2,651 attended Aqueduct on Wednesday, the first day of no OTB in New York; as opposed to 2,061 on Nov 24, the prior Wednesday of racing (last week was rained out). Intra-state handle was down from $1.64 million to $862,361. That's 46.9%, above the 40% figure that's been thrown around as the percentage of the state's handle that NYC OTB handled. Add all the handle, including the inter-state wagering, together, and the total handle declined some 17%.
The trick for NYRA is to capture as much business on track as it can either on track or through NYRA Rewards. 61 of the Aqueduct attendees signed up for NYRA Rewards accounts, according to David Grening in the Form.
NYRA reported that 56 new NYRA One accounts had been opened from Friday through Monday.That's good news for NYRA, which holds a huge advantage over the other state tracks with its NYRA Rewards ADW platform. Perhaps I'm oversimplifying things, but, given that NYRA collects its full on-track share of those wagers, it seems to me that NYRA would have to capture one-third of the wagers placed on its races at NYC OTB in order to break even on the deal. Perhaps that's why Charles Hayward told Grening that neither the possibility of purse cuts at the current Aqueduct meet nor a reduction of racing dates was discussed at a NYRA board meeting.
On the other hand:
Racing and Wagering Board Chairman John Sabini Sabini said Wednesday that some racetracks “made informal inquiries” regarding a reduction in racing dates, though he would not say which ones. [DRF]The harness horsemen railed against the provision in the failed OTB bill that would have reduced racing dates, so I imagine that any such reductions due to the bill's failure would be a bitter pill.
The NYS Racing and Wagering Board met in a special session, and took some steps to help keep wagering dollars in state - easier and quicker registration, and double rewards points for new NYRA signups. What would really help NYRA of course is if it could provide live streaming of its races. And that's more complicated.
Thanks to Joseph Mahoney of the Board, who explained in an email that Section 1003 of the racing law - written before the internet age and originally intended to apply mainly to in-home simulcasting - provides that NYRA could only stream state-wide if it has reciprocal agreements to do so with each of the regional OTB's. "For example if NYRA had an agreement with Nassau OTB then NYRA and Nassau OTB could provide video streaming/in-home simulcasting in Nassau's region -- but only in Nassau's region, and nowhere else in New York State, unless they entered into other agreements with other OTBs. NYRA would have to have agreements with each of the states 6 regional OTBs to video stream in the entire state." That of course raises the question of what happens if there is no OTB in a particular region....presently the case in NYC.