Following a strong opening night to its delayed 2020 racing season, Winnipeg’s Assiniboia Downs realized even more wagering on its second night, May 26.
The track, which is racing Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesday, is the first Canadian track to begin racing since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in March. When racing returned on May 25, the track realized just over $1 million in wagering compared to just over $270,000 on opening day in 2019.
Tuesday evening over $1.6 million was wagered on six races compared to $173,000 wagered on seven races on day 2 of the meeting in 2019.
Assiniboia’s CEO Darren Dunn was understandably pleased that racing has started, although there is still plenty of missing revenue.
There are no spectators at the track and wagering can only be done through HorsePlayer Interactive, www.hpibet.com.
“It’s something that if we had to continue this way, and we will certainly for the foreseeable future, it works,” Dunn Told Canadian Press‘ Dan Ralph. “I’m still missing a lot of revenue, over 250,000 people (going) through the door of my facility eating and drinking and playing my 140 gaming machines that have been dark for 10 weeks so its a dramatic difference in revenue.
“But it (racing) is, at least, another revenue stream in through the door and it’s important in the healing process. But we’re not out of the woods yet.”
Onlookers of the Assiniboia races included Woodbine’s CEO Jim Lawson.
“I’m cheering for them, happy for them,” Lawson told the Canadian Press. “It’s good for racing across the country.
“What gives me comfort is they did extremely well without on-track wagering and that’s pretty comforting. What it showed is the horse-racing business can sustain itself through on-line wagering.”
The Canadian Press reported on opening night of Assiniboia’s 2020 meeting which was May 25.