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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Somebody's Watching Me...

I ranted back around New Year's Day about the new 10 day cashing rule in New York State, that started to affect horseplayers effective Sunday (the 11th) regarding presentation of various forms of identification now necessary to cash said ticket. On Friday, Nick Kling wrote about it again in the Troy Record stating that "According to NYSRWB spokesman Joe Mahoney, this rule has been in the pipeline for a couple of years. It is the product of a lengthy process during which time interested parties had an opportunity to comment, he said. The kernel of the idea for the measure germinated after the ‘Fix Six’ scandal at the 2002 Breeders Cup. You may recall that a trio of conspirators were able to access the pari-mutuel tote system and create a winning Pick Six ticket. The scheme was uncovered when longshot Volponi won the Breeders' Cup Classic, leaving the thieves with a bizarrely constructed wager which immediately set off alarm bells. cash such tickets. During the subsequent investigation into their activities, it was learned that the crooks practiced their craft by ‘harvesting’ winning tickets not cashed within a reasonable amount of time. "

However, what really caught my eye in the article was this snippet: "He also said the tote companies which handle the bets have been under “extreme pressure” to comply. They will be required to have an independant monitor in place to watch over wagers. The part of the ruling which applies to the tote vendors is on hold until a Jan.15 hearing with the NYSRWB takes place..." So I did a little digging into the Tote Standards Rule Part 5100 (which is quite lengthy by the way) at the New York State Racing and Wagering Board website and found out what the tote companies are all up in arms about (even though I'm told they informed about the rule change in May 2008). I think this section is the real meat of the rule, not the 10 day issue.

Part 5100.24 (l) reads as follows:

Independent Monitoring System.

The totalisator company shall utilize an independent real time transaction monitoring system approved by the Board. This system is to provide information in a read only format. At a minimum the system shall:

- Verify all transactions performed by the totalisator;
- Provide access to the Board and the authorized pari-mutuel wagering entity for monitoring activity;
- Notify the authorized pari-mutuel wagering entity’s mutuel manager or duly appointed representative when the system detects a discrepancy in the totalisator operation and/or with the independent monitoring system automatically. The mutuel manager shall determine the cause of the error and make any necessary repairs or adjustments pursuant to the rules and notify the Board immediately after each occurrence; and
- Perform other requirements deemed appropriate by the Board.

From my understanding only the Texas Racing Commission currently utilizes an independent monitoring system for its totalisator. The focus has been on the 10 day rule, but I think more important than that is this section of the standard. If implemented the following should be achieved:

- Preventative controls to ensure the integrity of the tote system.
- Reduce the probablilities of past posting.
- Keep the tote companies honest with keeping their systems up to date.

I'm sure the other issue for the tote companies, is that this new requirement puts additional cost on them (as independent monitoring software will have to be procured). Just who will they try and pass this cost onto? The track? The bettor? Monitoring comes with a cost, whose gonna buck up?

I did some further research into who actually sells this type of service. Wah-lah, ESI Integrity Services, Inc., who partnered with RCI (Racing Commissioners International) back in 2005 "to provide a national monitoring service and database for pari-mutuel wagering." With the meeting scheduled for Thursday, it should be interesting to see if this section is further delayed, what the tote companies' gripes are and who is going to pay for the software. Stay tuned.

I'm just an average man with an average life
I work from nine to five, hey hell I pay the price
All I want is to be left alone in my average home
But why do I always feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone. And...

I always feel that somebody's watchin' me...



Winston...not really said...

I saw an interview with Charlie Hayward the other day, he commented on the 10 day rule and expressed his disdain for the regulation.

It was on HRTV, I'm surprised you didn't see it...

Alan H. said...

This sounds like an interesting attest function that we can provide. Might be a business opportunity!


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