12/09/2002 12:00AM

Betting technology is added starter


TUCSON, Ariz. - The University of Arizona's Symposium on Racing gets underway on Wednesday morning with a timely panel on an issue that is foremost on everyone's mind in the racing industry - the security of the wagering network that processes the sport's bets.

The second panel of the Symposium's opening-day lineup, "Integrity of Technology," will bring together a number of experts on totalizator systems for a discussion of betting security. The panel will be moderated by John Walzak, the chief operating officer of the Ontario Harness Horse Association, who is considered a leading authority on totalizator systems and betting networks. Walzak is also the chairman of the Association of Racing Commissioners International Totalizators Standards Committee.

Officials at the university's Race Track Industry Program, which puts on the symposium, added the technology panel to the conference schedule three weeks ago as a way to address issues raised in the ongoing Breeders' Cup pick six investigation. Another tote panel scheduled for late Wednesday afternoon was canceled on Thursday after officials at Autotote, United Tote, and Amtote, the three largest tote companies in the U.S., backed out of their commitments to appear.

Tote officials have been extremely reluctant to talk about their systems since the Breeders' Cup pick six investigation was launched, and no tote officials will appear on the morning technology panel. However, the lineup will include Alan Ahac, the vice president of E-Success Inc., which is installing security software for Autotote. Ahac is expected to outline how the security software for his company is designed. E-Success also designed security software for Autotote's lottery systems.

Greg Avioli, the deputy commissioner for the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, is also on the panel. The NTRA has launched a task force to examine tote security and has also hired a consulting firm headed by former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani to conduct an examination of pick four and pick six bets made throughout the last year. Giuliani's company is also expected to issue recommendations on how to design a secure betting network.

Other panels on Wednesday include an examination of national racing issues, including medication policies and legislation; a discussion of regulatory issues; and a workshop on generating publicity for racing.