According to the officials of totalizator companies on Wednesday, December 6, 2006 at the University of Arizona's Symposium on Racing and Gaming in Tucson, betting companies are increasingly on the look out for new ways to allow their customers to use their own devices, like cellular phones, in betting on sports, such as horse racing.
The new innovations are seeking to capitalize on the increasing capability of cellular phones and personal digital assistants, which are becoming more useful. The main goal, according to officials, is to allow horse-players to use their own mobile devices to make bets and get the appropriate handicap information while connected to the wager-processing network through a secure connection. The discussion at the symposium on the use of the mobile devices took place at a two-part panel discussion regarding the important issues for the U.S. racing bet-processing industry.
The officials on the panel include David Haslett, Vice President of Operations for Scientific Games Racing, Steve Keech, the new President of Amtote, and last but not least, Jeff True, the new President of United Tote. These companies are the leading bet-processing companies in the United States. The lecture panelists described the condition of the U.S. racing market as hurting from the lack of distribution shops for racing customers to place their wager, unlike many foreign racing markets, where even off-track betting places are very accessible to customers.
According to Aymeric Verlet, The International Development Director for the French Wagering-Processing Company Pari-Mutuel UrbainLike in France, there are 150 betting shops per 1 million people. Compared to the United States, there are only 2 shops per 2 million people. Providing horse-players with convenient access to a Tote System via their mobile devices could dramatically expand those locations, according to panelists, but such remote access could also raise security concerns. Steve Keech said that the security issue regarding the connection is a pressing issue for the wager-processing companies and they have to resolve it first before they can even think that this mobile access can become a reality.
In a separate comment during an earlier discussion featuring officials of foreign bet-processing companies, Paul Cross, the International Wagering Manager for Tabcorp in Australia, commented that Fractional Betting, which allows horse-players to bet in any monetary form, has grown to about 41% of the company's profits since Tabcorp began allowing the action last September. Some U.S. Based Horse Race Tracks have begun permitting a limited version of Fractional Betting by giving their horse-players the choice to play on dime superfectas and 50-cent pick hours. Paul Cross said the Fractional Betting that they are offering at Tabcorp is only allowed on trifectas, superfectas, and pick fours and the horse-players' embrace of the practice was just astounding in a span of 4 months. Mr. Cross added that the handle has not suffered significant setbacks in Tabcorp due to the use of Fractional Betting.
December 17, 2006