Anne M. Eberhardt

Tote Program Includes Pari-Mutuel Upgrades

A new tote security system is designed to make improvements to pari-mutuel wagering.

The Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau in the next one to two years plans to launch a tote security system designed to close pools on time, eliminate shifts in odds, and display decimal rather than fractional odds. The system has been in the works for years.

The Thoroughbred Racing Associations board of directors unanimously approved the plan, according to a Jan. 4 TRA release. The TRPB falls under the TRA, a racetrack trade association based in Elkton, Md.

The “TRPB Tote Security System,” as it is called, will be a parallel network communications infrastructure designed to transmit specific tote data independently from the current Inter-Tote System Protocol used for all data communication, the TRA said. It will be implemented within 18-24 months.

“This is an effective refinement of the distribution of data that would not be possible without significant redesign of the current tote system, which was not initially engineered for multiple sources of wagering,” TRA executive vice president Chris Scherf said in a statement. “The tote companies have been vital contributors to the concept and design of the TRPB Tote Security System.”

The TRA and TRBP said the system will provide real-time decimal odds, initially in the win pool, which will provide more timely and accurate information for bettors to calculate expected payouts; an improved, standardized stop-betting device and process, which will ensure betting has ceased at every retail network on the TRPB Tote Security System at the start of every race upon the stop betting command being issued by the host; the ability for a host racetrack to identify and authenticate each simulcast retailer’s participation in the host’s races, ensuring only authorized access to pools; the ability for a host racetrack to verify essential control functions occurring within the host’s network, such as pool participation, ITSP information, cancel delay time, currency, and minimum bet values; the ability for a host racetrack to audit wagering transaction detail on multi-leg pools on a leg-by-leg basis; and increased capability for participating host racetracks to hasten development of new wagering opportunities and expand betting markets.

The system will employ a “secure web-based portal” that will include wagering integrity tools currently utilized by TRPB in analyzing wagering data.

“The TRPB Tote Security System is a measured, reasoned, and realistic response to communication failures and late odds shifts which have fueled a lack of public confidence in the current tote system,” TRPB president Frank Fabian said. “These measures vastly improve tote security by enabling host-track managers far greater visibility to activity within their pools at the click of a keyboard. And, no less important, it will enable the pari-mutuel industry to better serve its wagering public.”

The Jockey Club Technology Services, InCompass Solutions, and Roberts Communications Network have partnered with the TRPB to develop the system. Senior technical representatives of AmTote International, United Tote, Sportech Inc., and Las Vegas Dissemination Co. worked with TRPB as well.