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Saratoga IDA Releases Impact Study on Saratoga Race Course

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y., November 15, 2011 – The Saratoga County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) announced today the results of a study of the regional economic impact of Saratoga Race Course on a nine-county territory that comprises the greater Capital Region. Conducted by HR&A Advisors, Inc., the study concludes the economic benefit of Saratoga Race Course on regional output is estimated to exceed $200 million annually. Saratoga Race Course is operated by The New York Racing Association, Inc.

Representatives from the Saratoga County IDA released the study’s results during a news conference at the National Museum of Racing in Saratoga Springs, NY. The study, based on numbers from 2010, analyzed the impact of Saratoga Race Course on various sectors of the regional economy, including overall spending, employment, thoroughbred breeding, real estate, tourism and hospitality, and tax revenues generated to local and state governments. 

An update to a previous study conducted in 2006, the report focuses on the economic benefits accrued within a nine-county region including Albany, Columbia, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren and Washington counties.

“This comprehensive report demonstrates that Saratoga Race Course is a crucial economic driver not only for Saratoga County residents, but for millions of New Yorkers who reside well beyond the track’s historic gates on Union Avenue,” said Saratoga County IDA Chairman Raymond F. Callanan. “The direct expenditures made by NYRA, horsemen and spectators have a true ripple effect throughout our economy and stimulate our overall economic health while creating demand for more jobs and services in a number of related industries.” 

“The Saratoga County IDA has long been a valued partner of both NYRA and Saratoga Race Course. The organization plays a vital role in insuring a strong future for the economic welfare of residents of Saratoga County,” said NYRA President & CEO Charles Hayward. “NYRA is deeply appreciative of the IDA’s support through its commissioning of this study which outlines the positive fiscal impact of Saratoga Race Course on Saratoga County and the greater Capital Region.”

The study’s findings show that Saratoga Race Course generates an estimated $186 to $213 million in economic impact each year from three primary components: $61 million in output attributed to track operations overseen by NYRA; $58 million in expenditures from participants, including owners, trainers, jockeys and breeders; and between $67 and $94 million in spending by tourists and visitors to the region.

Several of the study’s key findings are outlined below:

· Employment: The annual operation of Saratoga Race Course creates between 1,830 and 2,050 full-time jobs in the region. Between 2005 and 2010, employment in racing related industries increased by 30 percent in Saratoga County and by five percent throughout the nine-county study area in comparison to an eight percent increase in non-racing related sectors in Saratoga County and a corresponding two percent decline throughout the region.

· Tax Revenues: Tax revenues generated from the operation of Saratoga Race Course are estimated to range between $12.6 million and $14.6 million in 2010, with up to $5.5 million accruing to the City of Saratoga Springs and Saratoga County and up to $9.1 million accruing to New York State. The tax revenues are generated from income tax, sales tax, property tax, tax on admissions, room tax on lodging, OTB surcharges and NYRA statutory payments to New York State entities. 

· Population Growth: Saratoga County experienced population growth of nine percent in 2010 compared with the 2000 census while the nine-county study region grew by five percent; overall New York State saw a two percent increase in residents during the corresponding time period.

· Hospitality and Tourism Industry: Saratoga’s hospitality and tourism industry has performed strongly in recent years, with a 3.1 percent increase in hotel overnight stays and over $40 million invested into the construction of new hotel rooms during the past five years. In August 2010, average daily room rates in Saratoga reached $192 compared to $117 in the overall market.

· Real Estate and Housing Market: The median home value in Saratoga County is the highest in the nine-county region. At $250,000 it is over $50,000 greater than the median home value in Columbia County, which had the second highest median home value in the study region. An analysis of properties in Saratoga Springs revealed at least 175 properties with a market value of $107 million belonged to persons connected to the thoroughbred industry.

· Thoroughbred Breeding: Saratoga County continues to be an attractive location for thoroughbred breeding operations with nine percent of agricultural parcels throughout the county classified as horse farms in 2010. The figure demonstrates a significant increase from 2004, when only six percent of agricultural parcels were classified as horse farms. 

According to the study, Saratoga Race Course has performed “significantly better” than the other New York State thoroughbred racetracks in the past decade, despite a slight decline in wagering and attendance levels between 2005 and 2010.

The study’s findings show the following: 

· Handle: In 2010, Saratoga Race Course had the highest live handle of any New York State thoroughbred racetrack by nearly $30 million, with $115 million wagered on live on-site races. Additionally, the total on-track handle of $127 million at Saratoga Race Course, combining live handle with wagering on races available through simulcast at Saratoga, was five percent higher in 2010 than in 2000. 

· Attendance: In 2010, Saratoga Race Course attracted approximately 870,300 patrons, the highest of any New York State thoroughbred racetrack. Saratoga Race Course maintains higher annual attendance, average daily attendance and average daily live handle than any other racetrack in the country that hosted at least five Grade 1 stakes races in 2011.

· Purses: The average purse per race at Saratoga Race Course was approximately $62,880 in 2010, significantly higher than the New York State average of approximately $32,030. 

In terms of the socioeconomic impact of Saratoga Race Course, the study finds that Saratoga County has experienced “strong economic growth” over the past decade in comparison to the rest of New York State and that the racetrack is a “crucial contributor” to the county’s character. 

For more information or to access the complete report, please visit http://www.saratogacountyida.org.

About The Saratoga County Industrial Development Agency:

The Saratoga County Industrial Development Agency is a public benefit corporation created in 1971 to promote, develop, encourage and assist in the construction, expansion and equipping of economically sound industrial and commercial facilities in order to advance the job opportunities, general prosperity and economic welfare of the citizens of Saratoga County. In the past 30 years the IDA has assisted 90 companies and community organizations which have invested over $6.7 billion, created and retained well over 10,000 jobs with $350 million in annual payroll and added value assessment of more than three quarters of a billion dollars to the local tax rolls. Whether it’s GlobalFoundries’s new chip Fab, Quad Graphic’s modern printing plant or a growing computer systems infrastructure company, the Agency has been actively involved in their commitment to invest in Saratoga County. The Agency has also invested its own funds in a number of studies and provided grants for the expansion and improvement of infrastructure necessary to retain business and attract new companies. The Economic Analysis of the Saratoga Race Course, both the original 2006 study and the 2011 update, were commissioned by the Agency based on the Board’s recognition that the thoroughbred racing industry is one of the pillars of our strong economy in Saratoga County and Saratoga Springs. The economic benefits from racing spread well beyond our county, reaching as far north to Warren and Washington counties and south to Green and Columbia counties.

 

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