01/07/2015 5:52PM

AmTote wins California bet-processing contract


AmTote, the bet-processing company owned by the privately held Stronach Group, has won a bid to take over all wagering services in the state of California from rival Sportech, according to officials, with the changeover set for sometime this fall.

AmTote was selected by the state’s two racing-industry-owned corporations, SCOTWINC and NOTWINC, for the contract in late December, according to Jeff True, the senior vice president of sales for AmTote. The contract will allow AmTote to provide bet-processing services at all California racetracks and offtrack betting locations, totaling approximately 40 sites. By handle, it is the largest bet-processing contract in the U.S.

Sportech, previously known as Scientific Games Racing (which was formerly known as Autotote), has provided bet-processing services for California since 1992. The previous contract had been renewed several times since 2006 on a short-term basis.

Two of California’s racetracks, Santa Anita Park in Arcadia and Golden Gate Fields in Northern California, are owned by AmTote’s parent company, the Stronach Group, which is controlled by owner-breeder Frank Stronach. The publicly held predecessor of the Stronach Group, Magna Entertainment, purchased AmTote in 2006.

With the agreement, AmTote will become the dominant bet-processing company in the U.S. The company took over bet-processing duties for the New York Racing Association in 2013, and it also controls bet-processing services for most of the tracks in Florida and a smattering of sites in the East, among other locations. 

True said the project will require AmTote to rewire all of the betting locations in California and install new terminals at the sites. The company is anticipating installing 3,000 newly built terminals.

“As you can imagine, it’s a pretty big installation,” True said.

True said a date has not yet been established for the changeover, but that the company is eyeing dates at the start or end of race meets in the fall to minimize disruptions. One of those dates is Oct. 29, when the fall meet at Del Mar is scheduled to start.

That date poses some problems, however, as the Del Mar opening is one day prior to the first day of the two-day Breeders’ Cup event, scheduled for Keeneland in Kentucky on Oct. 30-31. True said that “opening on Breeders’ Cup weekend is not something anyone wants to do” because of the possibility of snafus.

“Having said that, we candidly are not worried about it,” True said. “We have done big transitions before,” such as NYRA.

For California racing fans, the transition will mean learning a new interface on self-service terminals. True said that AmTote will employ on-site staffers to help racetrack patrons get used to the new machines at the time of the changeover, a tactic the company used in New York when it took over the NYRA business in September 2013.

“After three or four days, most of those folks were standing around doing nothing,” True said. “Customers got accustomed to it very quickly.”

Pat McCann More than 1 year ago
Boo hoo Sportech. Glad to see you go. Don't let the door hit you on the way out! They are the worse tote company while their headquarters are in a state that doesn't even have pari-mutuel wagering: Georgia! Well I bet 2014 was a boom for Sportech getting every Penn National owned track. But 2015 is a real pain knowing this news, losing a huge market in CA. Serves them right!
Vince Piscitelli More than 1 year ago
I hope to God that I will still be able to Past-Post with these new machines. Anyone know if it will still to be easy to do so? Vince P
Kevin Smith More than 1 year ago
great choice it is no secret that nyra reward accounts are being hacked since the new tote company took over
Ian GW More than 1 year ago
I'm still waiting for the impasse to be resolved from early Dec. Lot of players in PA still locked out and read 50% drop local otbs. Not a game if your new to the game you would want to remain in with these types of situations. I converted to Fan Duel and will play the triple crown if resolved by then.
Chas More than 1 year ago
This has the writing all over it that there will be problems when it comes to the switch over...great scheduling when to start the new system....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Evidence enough? hopefully some of you sheep can see the correlation between owners of a horse track, ALSO owning the company providing the betting machines. which process the bets.. which take the money.. which calculates the tote prices. which determines the pay out $$ after a race is completed.. are you with me camera guy?
Russell Rieckenberg More than 1 year ago
They could have went with United Tote, owned by Churchill Downs instead.
Chris Lowe More than 1 year ago
Please stop feeding the Anon troll.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Man you nailed it dude. If dat horse traxk owner now owns the betting machines!?? then dude we are all screwed. Our money aint goin nowhere but in their dagum pockets. You nailed it !
Billy More than 1 year ago
Payouts are strictly enforced by the CHRB....no one can manipulate these payouts from wagering pools!