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Thursday, April 12, 2012

"Little" Balmoral Shows Them How It's Done


Press Release: Balmoral Park handle up over $10,000,000 in 2012

             Chicago, Illinois    April 12, 2012    By Michael Antoniades, Balmoral Park Racing Analyst

          Balmoral Park reported strong first quarter growth in 2012 showing an increase of 35 percent in handle versus the first quarter of 2011. Total Q1 handle of $41,926,837 for 38 programs in 2012 was an increase of $10,879,738 compared to the 2011 Q1 handle of $31,047,099 on 37 programs.

          The nightly average at Balmoral rose to $1,103,337, an increase of $264,227 per night versus Q1 of 2011. Going back to the successful model of the 70’s and 80’s ,two of the three weekly cards went with only ten races resulting in a total of 423 races on 38 nights. The theory of less races to handicap and more free time for the players paid handsome dividends as the average handle per race in 2012 Q1 rose to $99,117, up $22,835 per race from Q1 of 2011. 

          Another key component was the low percentage of winning favorites. Balmoral offered some of the most competitive racing in North America . The evidence to this statement is overwhelming considering this fact. The Balmoral Park average of 33 per cent winning favorites is not only the lowest in harness racing, it equals thoroughbred racetracks Oaklawn Park and Parx for the lowest in all of racing for the first quarter of 2012. 

       The fact that the three major thoroughbred venues this winter all sported higher percentages of winning favorites is a big reason why Balmoral Park has been able to get thoroughbred players interested in harness racing. Through March 31, the Big 3 averages were Gulfstream and Santa Anita at 35 per cent and Aqueduct at 40 per cent. 

      Competitive racing resulted in some of the biggest payouts in racing. A Pick 5 record fifty cent payout was established on February 1 when one winner took home $32,400.00.  The record payout was topped three weeks later on February 22, when three lucky Pick 5 winners each received $44,675.10 on their 50 cent winning ticket. The largest Pick 4 payout was eleven days earlier when a one dollar winning ticket took home $22.958.80. At Balmoral a player could do some damage with a dime as well. The Original 10 cent High 5 paid $13,599.00 on January 14 and $10,609.50 on April 4.

     Low takeout, guaranteed pools and low minimums allowed players to last longer and gave them a better chance to win big. A three horse fifty cent trifecta box for $3.00 or a four horse dime super box for $2.40 was a sure way to get newcomers to the winners circle more often and make the pools much larger which made the gambling product more attractive to bigger players.

     The Pick 4 wager at Balmoral continues to be an amazing story. In the words of one of our biggest players, “This should be taught at every business school in the country to show students what is possible”. Thanks to the USTA Strategic Wagering Initiative, Track Master for the deluxe free program pages combined with a low takeout of 15%, the Balmoral Pick 4  has become one of the most popular bets in North America.  In 2009, the Pick 4 averaged $8,827 per night with a 25% takeout. 27 months later in the first quarter of 2012 the average pool rose to $32,143 with guaranteed pools and free program pages every night along with a 40% reduction in takeout. $524,114 was wagered on thirteen March Pick Fours for a record monthly average of $40,316.
                                          ANATOMY OF A BET
         BALMORAL PARK PICK 4 HISTORY    2009 TO THE PRESENT

2009
2010
2011
2012




25% Takeout
15% Takeout
15% Takeout
15% Takeout



JAN
$8,524
$7,698
$15,163
$28,675



FEB
8,587
10,277
17,490
27,046



MAR
9,739
10,923
15,629
40,316



APR
7,750
11,021
26,584




MAY
7,907
14,897
24,773




JUN
9,425
14,109
24,708




JUL
7,689
16,357
26,191




AUG
8,160
12,570
23,658




SEP
11,672
22,467
30,411




OCT
7,432
15,670
28,016




NOV
9,641
15,703
25,804




DEC
10,349
12,584




























2009


25% takeout




2010


15% takeout




2011 thru March             15% takeout




2011 April thru 6-26       15% takeout and guarantees on Saturday and Sunday

2011 after 6-29
15% takeout and guarantees nightly.    Guarantees raised  $ 5,000









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