Thursday, 21 May 2009

Fixing A Bet

Within a couple of days, two more tote incidents have further eroded the confidence of horseplayers. One, at Hollywood Park, has already been confirmed to be worthy of further investigation (although nothing so far indicates malicious intent), while little is known about a second one, at Penn National.

At California, the Autotote system failed again. We don’t know exactly what happened at Penn National, where pools were refunded for one race, and a Paceadvantage.com forum contributor reports suspicious late developments in the Exacta pool. Penn National switched from Autotote to United Tote a few years ago.

One interesting sidenote is that both incidents have come to the public’s attention via HANA, which wasn’t meant to be a watchdog site, but seems to have gained weight in a direction they might be surprised by themselves.

California, despite various bad experiences in the past, continues to use the questionable services of Autotote, a company involved in virtually all prominent past-post betting incidents in recent history. Autotote rebranded as Scientific Games after the Pick-Six scandal a few years back, but its original name (which literally means Car Deaths in German) had a much more fitting quality: the company is a wreck. Which begs two questions: a) is Autotote just incompetent or are they "incompetent" for a reason? and b) how is it that so many tracks still work with them instead of the other, better, tote operators around?

While I call the attention of federal authorities to the first question, it’s the second one that specifically interests me as a horseplayer and fan of the sport.

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