Shades of "The Sting" in recent past posting errors

May 25, 2009 8:34 PM
by Ray Poirier |

Past posting, the theme of the movie "The Sting" starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford, was considered a thing of the past because of all the technical innovations in modern wagering systems.

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But, past posting, or wagering after the race has been run, reared its ugly head at two major racetracks last week. And, unfortunately, the unlocked ticket issuing machines were under the control of two different totalizator companies.

Penn National Gaming Inc. (PENN) said it declared "No Race" and refunded all the money wagered when a "communications router" failed to lock the betting machines at its racetrack in Pennsylvania.

At Hollywood Park in California, according to the California Horse Racing Board, an identical failure occurred when the ticket issuing machines at 33 other wagering sites failed to lock on the Los Angeles Handicap. Again, all wagers were refunded.

The wagering system at Hollywood Casino in Pennsylvania (pictured) was operated by United Tote, a division of Youbet Inc. (UBET). In California, the wagering system is operated by Scientific Games Corp. (SGMS), formerly known as Autotote Co.

Two methods are used to insure that the ticket issuing machines are locked once the horses leave the starting gate. The first involves an electronic button depressed by the track stewards. The second is a backup system that locks the machines automatically if the stewards’ button fails.

Officials indicated that in both cases, according to the initial investigations, the failures were accidental.

Question? Comment? E-mail me at: Ray Poirier