AmTote, Stronach Group Develop Technology Allowing Bettors To Contribute To Thoroughbred Aftercare

by | 08.14.2017 | 12:17pm

A first-of-its-kind technology for horse-racing wagering terminals, conceived of and proposed by PETA to raise funds to care for Thoroughbreds retired from racing, has been developed by AmTote International. The concept, which PETA presented to the Stronach Group and the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA), involves a pop-up screen for wagering terminals asking bettors to donate a portion of their winnings to the TAA. The TAA announced the technology on Sunday at the annual Jockey Club Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing. This is the first time such an interface has been developed for the racing industry. The technology will soon be tested on betting terminals at a Stronach-owned track.

PETA, whose 2011 Thoroughbred Lifecycle 360 Fund proposal for a retirement program was embraced by the racing industry and became the funding model for the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, has been concerned that insufficient funds mean that some Thoroughbreds will end up sold at auction and sent to slaughter in Canada or Mexico. The new wagering terminal technology has the potential to generate an ongoing source of additional revenue. PETA approached the Stronach Group—which owns Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park, Pimlico, and other tracks—because of its commitment to improving conditions for horses used in racing.

“The racing industry is done with most Thoroughbreds before their fifth birthday, and they need good homes,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “This new technology interface has the potential to provide millions of dollars for the horses' care, and we're delighted that the Stronach Group has embraced it.”

As the TAA's Stacie Clark stated, “PETA did not seek compensation, monetary or otherwise, for the concept. Their only request was that 100 percent of the money donated through these terminals would support Thoroughbred aftercare. We would like to thank AmTote, the Stronach Group, and PETA for their joint leadership in horse care. The TAA is thrilled with the potential of this technology to help Thoroughbreds beyond their racing careers.”

  • gus stewart

    Frank, belinda, tim, do any of you, or have you gone to panda expres, they have instructed thier cashers to ask if you want to donate your change to a charity. I do my donating to charities as most folks when i feel in that frame of mind. I always think of the less fortunate, and always try everyday to assist someone. But if you really think by putting this in your face approach is going to work,, it isnt. You may get a few larger donations. But it will turn many off from helping at all. Perception will be whi is really pushing this. Isnt there enough takeout, taxes in racing. As i said containers around paddock on approns when people look at these wonderful animals would be a much bettor way. Re think this,, its the wrong msg

    • Quilla

      I’d like to see donation buckets at the big sales. :)

  • larry

    Charity is a scam half the time cynical l know but true

    • Five

      True. I know.
      Only a very small percentage of “your donation” actually goes to the “cause”.
      Audit the books.

      • slvrblltday

        Yeah Guidestar makes this easy. There are overhead costs associated with getting support to the needy. Sheesh.

  • Tinky


    So, as the people who are wealthy enough to own and race horses are apparently too irresponsible to carry the load themselves, why not “allow” the bettors, who typically get the short end of the stick to begin with, to help subsidize. Disgraceful.

    Here’s a related idea: how about the racetracks, which to this day pocket the breakage, use that money – which rightly belongs to the bettors – to fund aftercare?

    • Joe Sollitto

      This is the best possible suggestion. The breakage is not earned by anyone – the track, the horsemen or the tote companies. Let us have the choice to send OUR OWN funds to equine aftercare.

    • McGov

      That’s a great idea to use the breakage. This idea allowing bettors to donate is not a bad idea. More is better, I think, in this regard.
      Certainly having the option to donate is better than not having the option. Making this option convenient makes sense from this seat.
      I wonder if those who donate can use charity receipt regarding USA tax system regarding the profits of gambling. If they can, I think it is an OUTSTANDING option to donate versus paying taxes. At least you have a say in where this money goes.

    • SteveTG

      Breakage should have been eliminated a long time ago since it is nickel & dime theft. However, absent that I would much prefer if that money went to equine aftercare than into the tracks’ coffers. Good idea & good luck getting the tracks to part with that stolen money.

      I must say there are more than a few disgraceful elements in this sport but adding an option for donation on the machines, while truly tone deaf, doesn’t qualify as disgraceful in my eyes. Especially in light of the true disgrace of race horses falling through the cracks & ending up in a pen without a future.

      • Tinky

        Well, I see it as being much more than “tone deaf”. Again, it is perfectly accurate to say that racetracks steal millions of dollars annually from bettors by pocketing breakage, especially given how easy it would be to rectify the situation using current technology. So, in my view, choosing not to do that, while developing software to solicit funds – no matter how good the cause – from the very same group of victims, is a disgrace.

        • SteveTG

          I agree completely with the argument. I won’t quibble any further about how you or I choose to categorize it.

  • kuzdal

    It’s very important that purses remain high, thank God for that slots cash. And while we’re at it, why don’t you “winners” kick in a percentage for Old Friends?

    I give to Old Friends now. Don’t irritate me whenever I happen to cash at the track.

    It’s coming close. I’m almost finished with this game. Hey Frank…..grreeat idea, buddy.

  • Richard C

    A (voluntary) dollar here and a dollar there….and the donations will add up — for a fantastic cause.

    • Five

      Wrong fatboy, at the end of the day………
      only a small fraction of “your dollar” goes to to your “fantastic cause”.
      .Audit the big charities, and see what the big boy operators “earn”
      and how they spend “your donations”.

  • louisville race fan

    this must be a joke !!!parking ,program .entrance .high take out now a percentage of the ticket might go to peda !what is asmussens comment?

    • slvrblltday

      If you read the article you see Peta gets ZERO % of donations and didn’t ask for any. Mind boggling and disgraceful horseplayers here are so bothered by a VOLUNTARY scheme to help the animals we derive entertainment and money from.

      • Michael Shea

        This has not been the proudest moment for horse racing fans. The heartbreak that this sport can cause is bad enough, but the bitterness and downright meanness of some people who follow horse racing is even worse.

        • slvrblltday

          Quite frankly I’m ashamed and surprised at the negativity demonstrated here Michael.

        • jimmy ski

          I think cynical is a better description of most racing fans these days.Tired of 10 dollar forms and price gouging on big race days.Now why can”t tracks give up the “breakage” for aftercare which i’m sure is way more than this campaign would ever raise!No frank doesn’t want to hear that.

          • Michael Shea

            I’ve been following the sport my whole life and horse racing “fans” have always been among the most miserable human beings you could possibly encounter. Horse racing has survived in spite of them not because of them.

          • jimmy ski

            I’ve been following horses since i was 10 when gramps would take me and my brothers out to Sportsmans park.Back then i could say the crowd was high brow compared to the local slugs nowadays at your otb.My point being your not gonna raise squat from todays bettors towards aftercare.Now Frank with his big Pegasus cup(other people putting up the purse)wants us to feel guilty ever time i make a bet?No how about you stepping up and helping the industry with money you should not get.

          • disqus_VDMOBiuPfw

            I only know of the fans on these racing websites. I like to call them “informed fans” because they’re always analyzing and rating things like workouts, but always with favoritism towards their fave. I prefer uninformed fans or even trolls who write funny things and who simply cheer for their horse without the annoying know-it-all arguing.

  • Flag Is Up

    Here’s an idea. There is one part of this industry that makes the most money with very little investment or risk. Have the sales companies fund Thoroughbred Aftercare programs!

  • Jay Stone

    Really, what harm is there to using a betting terminal and giving whatever you like to retired throughbreds? Whether it be 50 cents or two dollars it will quickly add up. Nobody is proposing or asking that this becomes a mandatory practice. It is just another way to finance A worthwhile endeavor. Nobody should have a problem with this addition at no cost to anyone who doesn’t want to participate.

    • Tinky

      The problem, Jay, is that the racetracks that have concocted the idea are predictably choosing to find someone else to foot the bill.

      And given, as I suggested in my initial post, that they continue to essentially steal breakage from bettors with impunity, why not use some or all of that money to help fund aftercare, rather than “allowing” fans to dig even more deeply into their own pockets?

      • Jay Stone

        Tinky, agreed but it’s an individual’s choice. There might be zero on the screen contributed but since it all goes to a worthy cause it’s worth a shot.

    • gus stewart

      Back to perception, anyone walking up to a machine and being asked to give some of your voucher is not a warm and fuzzy feeling. When people in general are hit with taxes or whatever else our government can dream of at night, to squeeze a little more out of us, its the same thought to people at track getting asked this option at the tracks machine. No body wants to give anything more to the track, sure its really not going to track, but its the tote machine in the track, not to be trusted. At least when you have charity bins around the paddock or on the apron watching the races, i would feel better when a security guard picked them up, then letting an executive at the track handling a donation through a machine.. just my perception, similar to whips in 2017

      • Jay Stone

        Gus, I think I would rather trust a tote machine to give an accurate tally of donations than leaving canisters of cash around. Again, my thought is that a person out of the goodness of their heart would punch a meaningless 50 cents on a screen for a worthwhile cause is no big deal. I’ve always believed that horse retirement should be funded by every aspect of the industry and this is just a very, very small gesture that is backed by an adversary such as PETA. If there is common ground here then it is worthwhile.

        • gus stewart

          I agree 100 percent,, it just seems to me if im walking out after the races, win or lose and i see a nicely posted donation container even if i lost i would throw a few bucks or some change. I just dont want to be reminded everytime i walk to a machine and see an option to give money,, maybe it’s me, but i think the disconnect from the corp structure would work for me. Disabled jocks all these things should of been accessbile in a simple format years ago and peta would of been out in less force,, just not at a tote machine.

        • Carol Bishop

          I think that they should all get dinged from the breeders to 0.5% from the purses, most racing facilities are hooked with casinos so a 0.5% take everyday from every track would tally up fast. A gambler and his money is not easily parted so I wouldn`t count on a ton of money coming from them. I know because I worked at a track for 32 years.

    • ofmyownaccord

      I’m trying to figure out why all these so called “horseplayers”are so offended by a VOLUNTARY donation option…..

      Do these people also throw temper tantrums at Petsmart, McDonalds, and Panda Express when the register asks for a $1 donation?

      Yet they are the first to moan and complain on articles about horses slipping through the cracks or injured jockeys falling on hard times.

      • gus stewart

        I mentioned panda express on this topic i think. I think this is a good idea, at track. i just disagree with its presentation. I dont mind labled bins that people can make a choice to drop a donation ,by the paddock or on the apron where people see the beautiful animals. Ive asked for years why isnt this being done. like everything else in racing, its in a time warp i just dont feel comfortable that everytime i walk to make a bet, im going to see this and feel pressured, as i feel when i have to answer at panda express to the cashier, no thanks

  • Fallow1

    Old Frank has enough personal funds doing nothing to fund the whole thing himself.

    Probably get him a nice tax deduction too.

  • Five

    Annoying…….very annoying idea.
    Sorry fatboy, I no longer go to the tracks….I bet online.
    Stronach……..if you do something like this on Xpressbet……I will close my account.

  • Nytex

    As my father told me 60 years ago when he took me to the track, “As soon as you let on that you made a score, everyone will be putting the arm on you”.

  • Joe Sollitto

    How about being “allowed” to choose to have the breakage sent to the charity? These are funds that were not earned in any sense by the track, horsemen or anyone else. Dime breakage in this day and age is a joke, and even nickel breakage is silly for online bets. At least give the horseplayers the option to send THEIR OWN hard earned cash to a charity to support equine aftercare.

  • BreakingDeadMen

    It’s already my personal policy that whenever I make a big score, always with signers and sometimes with something that is close, I donate to a horse welfare organization. If this is an option, I will be happy to round out the change amounts to charity as well.

  • Nick Palermino

    Let me get this straight…. I’m standing in line either at a para-mutual teller window or a self serve machine… it’s 0 MTP and loading and I’m about to get shut out…. and I’m listening to a teller explaining to the yahoo in front of me about thoroughbred aftercare? Are you (bleeping) kidding me? No thank you!!! Find another way. I breed, I own, I race, I gamble… there are no biases, it’s just a bad idea.

  • Fallow1

    I posted that old Frank could easily pay for the whole aftercare thing himself, and he should think about doing it. Post seems to have not taken or disappeared?

  • Michael Shea

    I try very hard to keep it positive when I comment but it’s getting awfully old. If the favorite wins, it’s odds were too short. If the favorite loses, it’s a fix. It’s breakage. It’s Stronach. It’s PETA. It’s something else, just give me time to think of it. Or even better, the tracks should apparently be not for profit organizations. People can always find a reason not to give. Enough already.

  • kuzdal

    Sorry for this post. I feel a compelling need to put this tale back out there.

    I lived near one of the KY tracks for a few years. Knew everyone who worked there, some better than others. One night, around Thanksgiving, after a good score, the subject of making a contribution to those working on the backside came up. To be brief, I was directed to a “supervisor” and, after explaining what I wanted to do (provide some help toward Thanksgiving dinner), I turned over hundreds of dollars. Cash. And I forgot about it.

    And it wasn’t until I got a “Thank You” card from the chaplain that I saw that 33.3% of the money I’d given to this “cause” was not received. And, having written this, I recall the anger.

    Charity? I’ve given. Today, I’m the wrong guy to ask.

  • Great Idea.

  • Diane Gregoli Marchand

    i think its a great idea More needs to be done for all these horses that have ran their hearts out and now so many left with no place to retire So many tortured and slaughtered !

  • Flag Is Up

    I’m talking about them stepping forward and fully funding the program.

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