01/27/2016 9:58AM

Tuesday's betting hub malfunction caused by power outage


The betting hub malfunction that led a handful of racetracks to cancel their cards Tuesday was caused by a power outage at the hub in New Jersey, according to an official with the hub’s operator.

Jennifer Conning, a spokeswoman for Sportech, said the company’s Quantum Data Center in Mount Laurel, N.J., lost power Tuesday morning, but the cause of the power loss had not yet been determined.

“We are following protocol to investigate the root cause of the power loss, and we will provide updates to our customers as more information becomes available,” Conning said in an e-mail Wednesday.

The hub was restored to full operation at 5 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, Conning said, after two Thoroughbred tracks and two Standardbred tracks canceled their cards without running a race. A fifth track, Mahoning Valley in Ohio, ran its races for purse money only.

Both Sam Houston in Texas and Turf Paradise in Phoenix canceled their cards after delaying the starts of their first races. The loss of the hub prevented offtrack wagers from being commingled into the tracks’ pools. Offtrack wagers are typically the source of at least 90 percent of all betting on tracks’ races.

Vince Francia, the general manager of Turf Paradise, said on Tuesday that Sportech had notified the track early Tuesday morning that the hub was down. After the hub was brought back up, Francia said he was assured by Sportech that the problems had been resolved and would not affect betting on the track’s Wednesday card.

The track and its horsemen’s group decided after the cancellation to provide $250 for each scheduled starter in the races that were canceled, Francia said.

Tote contracts generally include provisions compensating clients for the loss of business in the event of a malfunction.

Sportech’s U.S. operations are a division of a British gambling company formed after the parent bought the tote-processing assets of Scientific Games. The company is the smallest of the four major bet-processing companies in the U.S. The two largest are owned by Churchill Downs Inc. and The Stronach Group, both racetrack operators. At the time of the purchase, Sportech provided bet-processing services to all of the sites in California, but the company was replaced by AmTote, The Stronach Group’s tote company, early in 2015.