'Tote Security System' Launch Set for 2013

The Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau plans to roll out what it calls the "Tote Security System" in the fall of 2013, officials said Oct. 2.
 
The system, in the development stages for more than a year, is designed to address key issues that have lingered in the pari-mutuel industry for at least 10 years, said J. Curtis Linnell, director of wagering analysis for the TRPB, which falls under the Thoroughbred Racing Associations. Key functions of the system include identifying participants in a host track's wagering pools; closing all wagering when the host track does so; and providing a database of all wagers within 60-120 seconds of a race.
 
Linnell provided an update on the system, which will be explained to the industry in greater detail in the future, during the International Simulcast Conference in Clearwater Beach, Fla.
 
Linnell said the industry must "address actual and perception elements" such as late odds changes that have plagued the industry. The new system will allow for display of decimal odds, for example, that can be refreshed in about two seconds on the host track's feed.
 
The TRA, a racetrack industry trade group, has invested in the Tote Security System and is developing a business plan for industry participation. Totalizator companies have provided development services, The Jockey Club developed the technology, and Roberts Communications Network will provide the datalinks, Linnell said.
 
Every association that retails pari-mutuel wagers will pay a fee for the basic security system.
 
"This is one reason why previous plans have failed," Linnell said. "There wasn't a way to pay for it."
 
The efforts go back to the Breeders' Cup Pick 6 fraud of 2002 at Arlington Park. The crime led to formation of a task force and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association Office of Wagering Security, which ultimately failed and closed after major financial investment.
 
Later, RCI Integrity Services, a concept of the Association of Racing Commissioners International, never picked up enough support. The TRPB then developed "Wagering Transmission Protocol" in an effort to move along the process.
 
"The one thing that caught fire was ending the late odds changes," Linnell said. "But by 2008 there was no real actionable response. Very little had changed though we were very aware of what the problems were."
 
Linnell and Chris Scherf, executive vice president of the TRA, offered ballpark cost figures for the Tote Security System. The hook-up fee would be about $950 per month per association; a racetrack and its affiliated betting facilities would pay one fee, for example.
 
TRA-member racetracks would receive the other services–decimal odds displays and the wagering audit function–for free. Non-member tracks could pay roughly $6,000 a month for those services based on initial discussions. (Because the fee is driven by host product, the actual fee would depend on the length of a live meet.)
 
Scherf said the TRA board of directors could be open to establishing a new membership structure for non-Thoroughbred tracks and wagering outlets, but it would require some changes in the organization's bylaws.
 
Linnell said TRA-member racetracks later this fall will require domestic wagering outlets to provide a "transaction audit file" after each race. Various pilot projects involving the Tote Security System will be undertaken in the spring of 2013, he said.

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