Charles Town: Handle up for 15th straight month

by | 08.02.2011 | 10:32am

Press Release

Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races posted a 2% gain in its average daily handle for July 2011 versus the same period last year, allowing the track to run its streak of handle increases to 15 consecutive months.

Following a dip in April 2010, Charles Town has reeled off 15 straight months of year-over-year handle increases, with 10 of those reaching into double digits.  The high watermark increase came in February 2011 when the track realized a 30.9% gain over 2010.  The average daily handle of $1,205,474 in February also marked the largest monthly figure in Charles Town's 77-year history.

“It's great to see our growth, especially in the simulcast market,” said Director of Racing Operations, Erich Zimny.  “We've been pretty aggressive in branding our signal using higher profile events and daily television coverage to capture the residual fan interest off of that.”

One of those high profile events, the Charles Town Classic – run for the third time in April, is responsible for the three highest single card handles in track history.  June's Charles Town Sprint Festival and September's Race for the Ribbon programs have been successful and the 2010 West Virginia Breeders' Classics shattered the previous handle mark for the event by more than 20%.

Through July, average daily handle at Charles Town is up 18% versus 2010.  The average monthly handle increase since May 2010 began has been almost 15%.

“Keeping this streak going will be tough as we run into some months where the benchmark is high for us, but anytime you're looking at 15 straight months of gains, especially in this economy, you have to be pleased.”

  • David H.

    The overall product at Charles Town continues to improve.

    – A lot of high quality horse farms, like Fox Hill and Glen Hill, send some of their stock to trainer Jeff Runco, and breeder/trainers Mr. Casey and Mr. Jenkins continue to run their excellent stock at Charles Town.

    – The track announcer is both capable and engaging.

    – The year-round racing helps build a sense of continuity for bettors.

    – The new TVs in the simulcast area make the betting experience more enjoyable. Now they just need new carpets/flooring and new chairs.

  • Will B.

    Agree David. Charles Town has really rocketed up the charts recently.

  • Google Act 71

    It’s better because the track vet actually scratches the cripples and protects the integrity of the racing product by doing so.

    Zimny might end up being like the GM “Charlie” from the movie Major League…if you get what I’m saying.

  • horseman

    How much more would the handle increase if Charles Town’s signal were sent to all the same simulcast outlets as Penn National’s signal and West Virginians could wager online on Charles Town’s signal?

  • XtraHeat

    I’ve followed CT fairly closely and you’re right about Eric Zimny. He’s been unbelievable there. Is incredibly bright and isn’t afraid to try new things – which are two things we desperately need in this sport. Can tell he has a knack to promote too. I’d look for him to be running a major racetrack near you in the not too distant future.

  • Charles Town’s first post at 7:15pm ET plays right into an audience starved for prime-time wagering opportunities.

    The signal presented in High Definition format and live feed and replays available on their website helps the horse racing consumer. Every racetrack should have these three offerings by now.

    The Sunday afternoon post-time however is baffling.

    Why go up against the established prime-time tracks in that slot? No. Live racing patrons do NOT want to stick around and play slot machines in the evening. As a result I curtail my wagering on Charles Town on Sundays and I’m quite sure I’m not the only one not contributing to the CT purse accounts in that slot.

    Night time racetracks should present the product at nights. No waffling. It’s common business sense.

  • LetItRideMike

    They would get alot more of my handle if they would invest in better lighting and television equipment. The video quality needs to be brought out of the 80’s and into the modern era.

  • Google Act 71

    Their video quality is crisp and in HD, Mike. Your viewing device must be bad. The lighting on the other hand could be better.

  • XtraHeat

    Great story that a friend of mine who trains at CT told me. A year or 2 back one of the horsemen asked Zimny why he should believe the idea of a million dollar race at CT would ever work. He looked at my buddy with a straight face and says – Because while it may not make sense to you, I’m telling you it’s going to work.

    LMAO. Guess he was right. I just remember the place when they ran for 20k a day and it was a dump. It’s bizarre to see the stuff at CT now when I grew up watching that there. Sorta think we need this bolder attitude in the sport too and people who aren’t timid to buck the system.

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