Tracks Hear of Plan for Centralized Wagering Database
by Tom LaMarra
Date Posted: 3/4/2004 4:30:30 PM
Last Updated: 3/6/2004 4:35:26 PM

The boards of the Thoroughbred Racing Associations and Harness Tracks of America held a joint meeting March 4, in part to discuss the working relationship between The Jockey Club and Scientific Games in their in effort to upgrade technology and improve security in the national wagering system.

The boards of the TRA and HTA met during their joint convention in Fort Myers, Fla. The meeting was open only to members, but officials indicated the process, though somewhat sensitive, continues to move forward in a positive fashion.

Scientific Games, the parent company of Autotote, announced the working relationship with The Jockey Club last December. Scientific Games developed the "Quantum System," which would transmit wagering information in real time to an independent, industry-owned central database. Though Autotote accounts for the largest share of pari-mutuel handle in the country, the system would involve other tote companies.

"I guess you have to get it to the next level," said Mike Weiss, general manager of Beulah Park, a TRA member track. "Are the racetracks going to own (the system) like they do Equibase, or will it be managed by someone? I'm certainly supportive of it going to the next level."

Equibase was formed in the early 1990s when the TRA and The Jockey Club joined forces to gain control of past-performance information once provided solely by Daily Racing Form. Equibase is now considered the "industry's database," and the Form, under an agreement, gets its basic past-performance information from Equibase.

The Quantum System was installed at Delaware Park in July and should be rolled out at other racetracks this year. Jockey Club officials last year said the system architecture would mirror the centralized database design employed by Equibase and InCompass Solutions, another subsidiary of The Jockey Club.

Development of a centralized database was a recommendation of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association's Wagering Technology Working Group and Giuliani Partners, the security firm hired by the NTRA in the wake of the Breeders' Cup Ultra Pick 6 fraud of 2002. The NTRA board of directors received an update on the joint effort during its meeting in late February.

The TRA was in the process of holding its own board of directors meeting the afternoon of March 4. Things got back to normal after a bomb scare at the Sanibel Harbour Resort and Spa forced an evacuation that lasted several hours the previous afternoon.

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