US horse race wagering hits $1.4 billion in May

Finance News

Wagering on U.S. Thoroughbred horse racing increased by 1 percent in May to $1.40 billion, compared to the same month in 2023, despite a decrease in race days and races. Field size also showed a slight increase of 0.82 percent.

In May, $124.7 million was bet, the strongest wagering month since last August, when $1.1 billion passed through pari-mutuel pools. May, featuring the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, is the annual leader in wagering totals, with $1.4 billion bet in 2024. July and April were the other months exceeding $1 billion last year.

March 2024 had some advantages over the same month in 2023. There were nine weekend dates this year compared to eight in 2023. In addition, the Florida Derby, run on April 1 in 2023, fell on March 30 this year, when it handled $33.7 million.

Purses, which have become increasingly disconnected to handle as an economic indicator because of the influx of revenue from casinos, slot machines, and historical horse racing, increased in March by 8.41 percent in available purses, with the total lowered to a 7.55 percent lift for purses that were paid out. Available purses per race day increased by 16.79 percent.