2022 was the first full season of horse racing since the pandemic began in 2020. At the end of the year, I like to check out my Fanduel (TVG) account summary wagering results. This past year I deposited $980 and withdrew $455. Ideally, you want to withdraw more than you deposit, but I only withdraw when my account is over $200. That only happened a few times in 2022. Horse betting is a game that takes money to make money. My starting balance was $158, and my ending balance was $100. I had $186 in promotions and refunded wagers. With that, I was able to wager $3608 over the year, which returned $2838 in winnings.
All these number make it kind of difficult to find the actual return on investment. But when you have less winnings than wagers you know you most likely lost money. If you subtract winnings from wagers, you get -$770. Add $186 for promotions and refunds and you get -$584. Another way to find your win/loss number is to look at deposits, withdrawals, and the ending balance. That amount is -$583. The one-dollar difference is a rounding error. This means in the past year I lost $48.60 per month on horse racing. This may seem like a big loss to some people and not so much to others. To put it into perspective, my retirement account lost 150x that per month in 2022. The loss doesn’t look bad compared to that.
As a horse player, you always think that you’ll do better in the year ahead. There were several points during the year where I was close to break even. Playing more pick 4’s helped. But I was not able to win one of those big four figure multi-race payouts. My biggest pick 4 win was $371. I would start making smaller wagers when my account got below $100. Sometimes this worked, and sometimes it didn’t. It is always nice to win big and not have to make a deposit for a while. At least I won’t have to pay any taxes on my winnings in 2022. But the goal is to come out ahead! It’s going to take some better luck and smarter handicapping to make that happen.