by | 11.17.2010 | 12:47am
By Ray Paulick
Betting windows at 33 simulcast sites remained open on Saturday's Los Angeles Handicap at Hollywood Park until after the Grade 3 stakes race had been run because they did not receive a stop betting signal from the Scientific Games tote system that contracts with California racetracks to handle pari-mutuel wagering.

According to Eual Wyatt Jr., the Inglewood, Calif., track's general manager, all of the money wagered at those sites – properly or improperly—was “thrown out of the pools” and refunded. Wyatt did not know the amount. He said the 33 simulcast sites all went through a single betting hub. (Click here to view the sites affected and the amount wagered at those sites.) 

The incident is under investigation by the California Horse Racing Board.

The past-post wagering was first reported by Mike Maloney, a Lexington, Ky.-based professional horseplayer and industry watchdog on betting issues, in an
article posted on the Horseplayers Association of North America web site. Maloney, a frequent speaker at industry gatherings on the issue of integrity of totalizator systems, was recently named vice president of HANA.

Terry McWilliams, a West Coast representative for Scientific Games Racing (formerly Autotote), would not comment on Saturday's betting irregularities, saying, “I am not authorized to speak on behalf of the company. “ McWilliams referred the Paulick Report to a corporate spokesperson who did not immediately return a phone call. Scientific Games Racing president Brooks Pierce also could not be reached for comment.

Here is one explanation of the incident provided to Hollywood Park officials by George Brannen, Western Regional Director of Scientific Games Racing, in an email provided by the California Horse Racing Board to the Paulick Report. “At stop betting of race 9 for Hollywood Park we were not receiving pools from a group of 33 imports,” Brennan wrote. “All of these import processes were running on the Slave system. We had 7 other systems in the room wagering on Hollywood and of those 4 were on the Slave system and did not get the stop betting message from the California tote. The other 3 systems imports that were on the Master system did get the stop betting and shipped pools final on time. Because of this we were pretty sure that a stop betting message was not sent to any of the 33 imports and made the decision to clear and close those 33 sites. We then stopped the Slave system, promoted the Clone to become Slave, restarted all the Golden Gate imports that were also hung on the old Slave so that Golden Gate would not be delayed. A more detailed report will follow.”

“This is my first recollection of this (type of wagering irregularity),” Wyatt said. “The good thing is whatever mechanical error occurred, it was discovered and those bets didn't count.”

At least that's what Scientific Games apparently is telling Hollywood Park officials. This isn't the first irregularity in California regarding the tote company, which in 2008 agreed to a settlement with the California Horse Racing Board over software errors related to “quick pick” wagers. Scientific Games knew of the software flaws for months, yet failed to notify the tracks or CHRB. It wasn't until a
horseplayer discovered the flaws while making “quick pick” superfecta wagers on the 2008 Kentucky Derby that the software problem was made public.

Other Scientific Games tote problems have been reported in other states, including
a Philadelphia Park past posting incident last June 28 when wagering sites in Florida did not receive a stop-betting signal from a Scientific Games hub. Maloney reported a past-posting incident on a race originating at Fair Grounds in New Orleans, which also used Scientific Games. The most infamous Scientific Games/Autotote incident, however, involved the 2002 Breeders' Cup Pick Six scandal when company employees hacked into the system to make Pick Six wagers long after the betting cutoff and took home the entire pool.

Kirk Breed, executive director of the California Horse Racing Board, has ordered an investigation by his agency into the latest Scientific Games mistake. “I have read Scientific Games' explanation and did not understand what it said,” said Breed. “It is their fault. They basically said it's a malfunction, and I accept that as their malfunction, so they are taking responsibility. They're the ones that are going to be charged with responding to whoever lost money or was left out.”

Is Breed satisfied that the past-post wagers on the Los Angeles Handicap were excluded from the pools? “I don't know. I'm not satisfied with anything at this stage,” he said. “All I have is an explanation from Scientific Games sent to Eual at Hollywood Park and which he sent it to me immediately. He and I talked yesterday. Frankly, I do not understand what they are talking about.

“It's like the quick-pick,” Breed added. “It had been going on for nine months and they didn't do anything about it and didn't tell us about it. This is why we are trying to get some real-time monitoring in this state so we can have an independent source looking at our wagering, rather than depending on Scientific Games.”

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  • Al

    So many shennanigans happen everday by overriding America’s derelict tote systems. At least when betting abroad with legal bookmakers at racetrack venues, you know ahead of time that they might not be laying off the bet into the parimutual pools! In America, surprise, surprise!

  • Mary Overman

    >>”Is Breed satisfied that the past-post wagers on the Los Angeles Handicap were excluded from the pools? “I don’t know. I’m not satisfied with anything at this stage,” he said. “All I have is an explanation from Scientific Games sent to Eual at Hollywood Park and which he sent it to me immediately. He and I talked yesterday. Frankly, I do not understand what they are talking about.”<<

    Here’s hoping Mr. Breed makes sure EVERYTHING is put out in to the open and FULLY EXPLAINED by Scientific Games. Wouldn’t hurt to have an accountant or two on hand either.

    If I were on the CHRB, i would then demand that Scientific Games show me why they should still be allowed anywhere near California gambling again. This, apparently, is far from their first “gambling malfunction.”

    And the explanation given to Hollywood Park officials by the company rep? That is absolutely ridiculous. If the company rep is unable to explain to his or her customers the technicalities of a company malfunction in plainspeak, the company needs a new person in that position. Plainspeak is the whole POINT of having a rep speak for your company.


  • D. Masters

    Geeze LOUEEZE!!! More crap, incompetent screwups?????

    Where is the racing CZAR?!?!

  • D. Masters

    Forgot to add…I don’t even bet, unless I’m on the track (1 x every 2 years). If I bet like some of these folks on Paulick…I’d be more than “ticked”! Stop offshore betting! Not international/intenet, per se….stop the pseudo-Wall Street Greed Machines with racing. Everything must go through the FEDS….period. Every penny, boys and girls, every freakin’, stinkin’ penny with real time reporting!

  • Michael Cusortelli

    Why why WHY is it so difficult to stop wagering after a race starts?

    I mean, we’ve come so far technologically, and we can’t stop this??

  • ITP

    According to Eual Wyatt Jr., the Inglewood, Calif., track’s general manager, all of the money wagered at those sites – properly or improperly—was “thrown out of the pools” and refunded.

    So what they are saying is that if you bet the race fair and square before the race started, and you had a winner, your winner was voided and all you got was a refund?

    So basically…..anybody at those sites who won, got their money back. Nice job morons!

  • ITP

    Also…..Anybody that bet a loser 99% threw their losing tickets away without having any idea what happened or that they could get a refund.

    That’s a great marketing strategy for racing…..bet a winner = get a refund….bet a loser = throw your tickets away and get nothing

  • Ed Martin

    This underscores what RCI has been advocating: real time monitoring AND the independent testing of the tote systems. The monitoring that the CHRB advocates is dependent upon legislation pending in the State Legislature. All horse players should contact Sacremento and call for passage of that bill. In NY, monitoring requirements are on the books, but the industry has yet to comply. RCI model rules call for independent testing AND monitoring. This is way overdue and incidents like this one are just the latest in a string of incidents that is giving racing fans reason to be concerned.

  • Joe

    Close all windows one minute before post time. If a malfunction is signaled and some betting windows are still open, hold up the race until they are manually closed. Whatever handle may be lost during that last minute should be made up by cleaning up that layer of racing as well (along with legal and illegal drugs) and boosting bettors’ trust.

  • Since the powers that be refuse to fix the tote problems…
    why not legalize on-track bookmakers to offer additional possibliities for finding value?

    That would be an added incentive to come out to the racetrack instead of sitting
    behind a keyboard all day and yelling at the computer monitors.

    The possibilities for racetrack profits should not stop when track executives keep fumbling with the ball.

  • H. I. McDonaugh

    Interesting statement by Ed Martin:

    “In NY, monitoring requirements are on the books, but the industry has yet to comply”.

  • Richard Coreno

    Reason number 1,000,037 to stay at home and play the game through an online account. This is a doomed industry because the lifeblood – the on-track patron – is continually smashed in the mouth by utter incompetence, arrogance and technological “glitches” that punish the honest railbirds.

  • D. Masters

    I wouldn’t go to the bank (pun intended) that this fubar was an “accident”. Better question? What tote’s got their bets off and did anyone in the fubar tote recently make large deposits? One can never underestimate how low some can go….the human animal never ceases to amaze or disappoint. Damon Runyon made a good living off the “tales” of the track…maybe this is an exercise in same for 2010….same tree (storyline), different monkeys (cheats).

  • Gallop136

    So anyone who vaccumed all of those race tickets littering any of 33 wager establishments can walk them back for a refund? And those that had winning tickets weren’t paid, only refunded?
    If I was at Hollywood that day and bet into that race win or lose what practically happened in real time there?

    Just trying to understand the actual effects seen, as opposed to the down stream effects…

  • rwwupl

    Scientific Games has failed again. They promised to give us proportional payouts on dead heats. They failed.
    They promised to end past posting. They failed.
    They promised to clean up their act after the “Quick pick” affair. They failed
    They promised to clean up their act after the pick six scandal, They failed.

    They were given a new contract. WHY?

    Now this. WHY AGAIN?

  • Al

    Why the broken promises? Because the racetrack operators want to be in bed with a manipulative and corrupt tote operator. Bets held out of the pools, bets placed into the pools after the race has started or has finished, that’s good easy money for these guys. The TRPB, RCI and all the others know it happens everyday. Ever wonder why so many racetrack operators say they lose money but none of them wish to sell at fire sale prices? it’s all the cash leaving through the backdoor and the chance to withold and keep betting dollars that were meant for the parimutual pools.

  • Ray Paulick

    Just a followup on Ed Martin’s comment: wagering oversight legislation passed the California Senate Monday. Details of the bill are in the press release from Sen. Leland Yee’s chief of staff: http://www.paulickreport.com/wp-content/uploads/image/pdfs/HOLLYWOOD%20PARK%20BETTING%20GLITCH.pdf

  • Don Reed

    Legitimately pick the winner in the race; likewise, the exacta, the triple, and if there was one, the super.

    Then go get your refunds.

    Must have been “Hell Day” for some honest players out there!

  • Don Reed

    ITP: Good point!

    How many of these bets that were eligible for a refund ended up in an “uncashed” slush fund?

    Ray, can you look into this?

  • ITP

    I’m sure the stoopers and clean-up crews had a great day.

  • Cavonnier

    Lack of proper oversight might be the real reason for handle declines, not “the economy.” I go to the track and I see the same crowds of people betting. Where are the declines coming from? Who isn’t betting? Large, professional (but honest) bettors, perhaps. Scared away by these scandals.

  • Supernaut

    The only suggestion I see that makes any sense at all is from Joe (#9).

    The rest of you either uninformed or paranoid…. and in D Masters case – both.

  • D. Masters

    The issue is integrity, not paranoia. And I told you…I rarely bet, so I frankly could care less. But alot of people here do bet, regularly. There also seems to be a problem with transparency and competency…I would hardly call that uninformed or paranoid. This game needs to be squeaky clean across the board….and it’s not.

  • stinky pinky

    “The rest of you either uninformed or paranoid”

    Penn Nat’l has what appears to be a massive past posting problem today and refuses to pay off winners, declares race a non-wagering event after it is declared official.

    Nothing to see here folks..move along…

  • […] Hollywood Park’s past-posting incident on Saturday, all  wagers from the 33 sites where the stop-betting signal was not received were thrown […]

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