Canterbury Park racing officials today announced a sweeping reduction in pari-mutuel takeout that will result in the Shakopee, Minn. racetrack offering a wagering product priced lower, on average, than any track in the country. With win, place, show takeout set at 15 percent and all exotic wagers at 18 percent, Canterbury Park will be the best horse racing wagering opportunity in the United States when its 69-day race meet begins May 20.
“Canterbury Park has long strived to be the most horsemen-friendly track in the country. Now, we want to be the most horseplayer-friendly racetrack in America,” Vice President of Racing Operations Eric Halstrom said. “With the growth in the quality of our racing program we, with the support of our horsemen, are taking the next step and making our races the most profitable wagering opportunity. By changing our takeout to the lowest in the United States, we’re giving horseplayers worldwide great value and drawing attention to what is sure to be the finest racing season in Minnesota history.”
Horse racing is conducted using a unique form of wagering called pari-mutuel wagering. Within the pari-mutuel system, all wagers are pooled together and those that pick winners share the money within the pool after a portion of the pool is withheld by the racetrack. This withholding is called takeout. The takeout is used to pay for purses for the races and to pay the operator, Canterbury Park, for putting on the races and facilitating the wagering.
Racing and gaming industry economists suggest that handle, the amount of money wagered, will increase substantially as takeout is reduced. Canterbury officials are confident that bettors will embrace the lower takeout and continually improving quality of racing with field size that regularly exceeds the national average. Horsemen purses have increased by 91 percent since 2010 due to tribal purse enhancements, and out-of-state handle on Canterbury’s races has risen by 114 percent over that same time period.
“We have been successful in increasing handle as our racing quality has improved. However, substantial upside still exists, and we believe this bold move will help us recognize that potential and create passionate Canterbury Park fans throughout the country. We’re excited to offer something that no other racetrack in the United States has – the highest return to bettors all over the world,” Halstrom said.
Tom Metzen, President of the Minnesota Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association, which represents trainers and owners racing in the state, is in agreement with the takeout changes. “Racing at Canterbury Park continues its upward trend and the Minnesota HBPA supports the idea of a reduced takeout for our horseplayers,” Metzen said. “It will not only increase handle but show race fans everywhere what a jewel Minnesota racing is on the national scene.”
The reduction in takeout has also been met with widespread approval from major racing organizations including the nation’s premier horseplayer advocate group, the Horseplayers Association of North America (HANA).
“Canterbury Park has made a bold gesture for 2016, lower takeout for all. Their new wagering menu offers tremendous value. It also tells me they want my business,” HANA President Jeff Platt said. “I’ll be giving Canterbury a long, hard look this year and would encourage horseplayers everywhere to do the same.”
The takeout restructuring will be discussed by the Minnesota Racing Commission April 21.