Autotote's Statement on Advance Deposit Wagering in California

Applications from four companies seeking to offer Advance Deposit Wagering, or account wagering, in California will be considered by the California Horse Racing Board Thursday, Jan. 24. The regulations were approved by the state last Friday, allowing the CHRB to proceed with consideration of the applications from Autotote Enterprises Inc., Magna Entertainment Corporation, ODS Technologies (TVG), and Youbet.com. At the invitation of The Blood-Horse, each of the four license applicants was asked to provide a brief statement concerning their proposal for account wagering in California. Here is the response from Autotote Enterprises:

By John L. Ponzio
President, Autotote Enterprises, Inc.

Autotote Enterprises, a subsidiary of Scientific Games Corporation, which owns and operates Connecticut Off-Track Betting, is looking forward to the opportunity to serve the racing fans of California.

Everyone in the pari-mutuel industry is familiar with our sister company, Autotote Systems, the leading supplier of wagering systems and services to pari-mutuel operators. The company, which recently merged with Scientific Games, is also the leading integrated supplier of instant ticket and on-line lottery systems and cooperative services for lotteries worldwide. As such it is a company with considerable expertise in the gaming industry.

Autotote purchased Connecticut Off-Track Betting from the state in 1993 for $20 million. Since that time, Autotote has invested over $25 million to upgrade the branches, improve customer service and provide racing fans with the best variety of racing product. The improvements have certainly paid off as handle has grown more than 75% since acquisition.

Part of the acquisition included the state's phone wagering service. Re-branded "On the Wire," the service has grown considerably over the years. Many fans throughout the country currently enjoy the many technological innovations and friendly customer service that are the hallmarks of Autotote's phone wagering service. There is a toll free number and no daily or transaction surcharges. In addition, the On the Wire phone wagering service features an interactive voice response (IVR) system in which account holders can punch in wagers on their key pad to insure privacy. The IVR was recently upgraded to offer more lines for faster service that insures no one would be shut out. Autotote has also added credit card deposits and will be adding an automated results line so that account holders can get results quickly. This will be a free service to all On the Wire account holders. It is features such as these that separate On the Wire from other services.

While all of these enhancements make Autotote's phone wagering service very user friendly, it's really the product offerings that set it apart from the competition. In addition to thoroughbred racing, On the Wire patrons can wager on harness, greyhound and even jai-alai from frontons in Florida. On any given day, you can wager on 30 different racing programs (including Australian racing) or about 400 races. This is one of the most extensive racing menus in the country.

In the future, Autotote would like would like to complement its phone wagering service with Internet wagering. Autotote has developed Track Play™, an Internet product that the Fair Grounds racetrack is employing and which is also being used by Autotote's partner, Arena Leisure, in Great Britain.

Autotote operates in a highly regulated environment. The state of Connecticut's Division of Special Revenue oversees the pari-mutuel operation. Stringent guidelines and rules are in place to ensure the integrity of the pari-mutuel industry in the state.

Autotote welcomes the opportunity to compete for business in California. We look forward to working with the California Horse Racing Board, Thoroughbred Owners of California and the host tracks. All of the stakeholders, including racing fans, will benefit by having the right to choose the phone wagering service that best fits their needs. Autotote is a company whose future lies squarely within the pari-mutuel industry and whose long-term goal is to see the sport of racing prosper. We hope that all interested parties share this goal and allow a free competitive environment to work for the people of California.

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