NTRA Enlists Security Expert to Test Tote Systems

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association's newly implemented Wagering Technology Working Group has enlisted Ernst & Young's technology and security risk services to assess and test the security systems currently in place at the three major tote companies.

Ernst & Young, which provides security for several major financial, technology and electronic commerce companies, is coordinating its efforts with the tote companies, racetracks, and the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau (TRPB).

"Issues of information systems security are not unique to horseracing or pari-mutuel wagering," said Mark Doll, national director of security and technology solutions for Ernst & Young.
"Every industry involved in these kinds of financial transactions faces similar issues. We look forward to helping the horseracing industry determine both short-term and longer-term steps to assure wagering security and enhanced public confidence."

The retention of the Ernst & Young was one of several initial action items recommended by the NTRA Wagering Technology Working Group at its meeting on Monday. The Working Group was formed last week to promote industry-wide solutions to issues raised in connection with this year's Breeders' Cup Pick Six wagering.

The Ernst & Young unit will initially seek information from the industry's tote companies and racetrack operators, beginning with Churchill Downs Inc., Magna Entertainment Corp., and the New York Racing Association. The testing process is expected to take approximately four weeks.

The first priority will be to identify immediate steps that the industry can take, with tote company cooperation, to maximize wagering security while longer-term technology issues are addressed.

"The industry is working together as never before to achieve a common, overriding priority: assuring public confidence in the sport of horseracing by making concrete improvements to its wagering systems," said NTRA commissioner Tim Smith. "Adding Ernst & Young's considerable expertise in the area of electronic transaction security and testing is part of that focused, ongoing effort."

Representatives of the Ernst & Young unit began fact-finding sessions with industry representatives Tuesday, and continued on Wednesday with multiple meetings, including an initial session with tote companies.

The next meeting of the NTRA Wagering Technology Working Group is scheduled for Thursday. Among other agenda items, the Working Group is expected to focus on potential interim steps for immediate review with industry and tote company representatives.