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With lower takeout, Tioga, Vernon handle up

November 29, 2010

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Tioga Downs and the Southern Tier Harness Horsemen’s Association (STHHA) opted to try a lower takeout rate initiative for the 2010 race season, where all takeout rates were lowered to New York state minimums. The results of the takeout initiative were promising compared to industry standards where most other handles are dropping, the Tioga Downs handle showed an increase of 7.8 percent over 2009.
Vernon Downs’ takeout rates stayed the same as in 2009, and the 2010 handle showed a 5.6 percent decrease in total handle. The live on track handle for the Vernon Downs season was only down just under 1 percent, but the export number plummeted at Vernon Downs in 2010 with a 9.5 percent decrease in export compared to 2009.
The end result of the takeout rate reduction at Tioga showed an actual revenue loss in 2010 compared to 2009, but management feels that as part of repairing our broken business model in harness racing a takeout reduction is worth exploring.
“The horseplayers have spoken and they want more value on the product they are betting on. It’s past time to look at our business model and make adjustments, and we have to begin with the most important piece of the puzzle, the bettors," said Jason M. Settlemoir, VP of Racing and Simulcast. "With the high amount of product available for bettors to wager on they are going to go where they are getting the best value and we believe that we are providing that for them at Tioga.
“Hopefully, we will someday also provide our customer with a better product by keeping our stars racing as we recently saw by the dramatic increase in news coverage and TV ratings when Zenyatta raced in the Breeders’ Cup.” (Vernon & Tioga) 
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