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TAB Respond To SP Poster

Racing Roulette to be discontinued

Following Monday’s technical issues with TAB, SP poster Brendan asked what  was  going on with the TOTE?

He wrote:

Is Phumelela going to explain:

1)            What happen or why the tote had a meltdown on Monday, 5 August 2019, for the better part of the day?

2)            Who is responsible for this recurring problem?

3)            Why were the tote dividends and pools conveniently adjusted after the races were run?

4)            Can their ageing IT system infrastructure handle new betting options to the “betting menu”?

5)            Why is the tote not operating on an online real time basis? This should have happened decades ago?

6)            What is the targeted pool for “Roulette”? The current pools that ranges between a few hundred rand. SURELY this is indicative of a failed product.

7)            What market studies and research was performed by Phumelela before launching the Roulette product?

8)            What research and market studies were performed by Phumelela for the “Daily Double” product, that convinced them that the appetite for this product would exceed the current demand on double bets on all races carded locally?

10)          Is Phumelela promoting that their double punters must rather go to bookmakers to take their double bets once the Daily Double is launched? STRANGE

My suggestions to Phumelela include:

1)            Keep the current double on every race – It works and there is sufficient market depth for the product?

2)            Kill the Roulette – its marketing has failed and the turnovers are embarrassing.

3)            Do not innovate a “Daily WIN bet” for punters by nominating one race on the card for such a bet type at the expense of dropping the Win bet on all other races on the card! If you don’t see the logic in this then scrap your “Daily Double” product before you launch it.



Phumelela responded officially as follows on Wednesday 7 August:

Following an extensive software upgrade to the Amtote betting system on Sunday night 4 August into Monday morning 5 August, issues were first detected with delays to the display of tote odds on Australian races early on Monday.

Software issues multiplied through Monday morning, which affected inbound and outbound commingling, cash betting at retail outlets and online and telephone account betting.

Both primary and secondary back-up on-site and off-site systems were affected and proved very unstable.

The Phumelela IT team and Amtote International software developers worked round the clock from early Monday morning to restore full functionality and the remaining software problems were resolved at about 03:00 on Tuesday 6 August.

The new software was tested extensively from July last year. Unfortunately, the tests did not give any indication of the issues that arose on Monday, which by no stretch of the imagination can be termed “the recurring problem” as stated in your query.

The betting system functioned normally through Tuesday 6 August and will be closely monitored while Amtote completes an investigation into the root cause of the software malfunction.

TAB apologises to all customers inconvenienced by the system failure and is totally committed to improving all aspects of its product and service offering into the future.

As regards Racing Roulette, TAB launched the bet on a trial basis in January following Santa Anita Racecourse in California introducing the concept last year.

TAB’s primary target market with Racing Roulette was occasional racegoers and punters on major racedays, but unfortunately the bet has failed to gain traction in any market segment and will be discontinued.

Going forward TAB will continue to launch/trial new bets and seek ways of enlivening and simultaneously rationalising its menu of bets.

This is critical given that tote turnovers are dropping and that there is general consensus that there are too many bets, especially on horseracing. An excess of betting choices ultimately erodes the critical mass of pools and in turn the integrity of payouts, which for obvious reasons must be prevented.

Rolling Doubles have resulted in the Double, once a popular feature on TAB’s betting menu, losing much of its identity and appeal. Rolling Doubles currently account for only some 1% of turnover with pools averaging less than R5,000.

Replacing the R1-unit Rolling Double on South African races with a R6-unit Daily Double on South African and selected international race meetings, is an attempt to re-energise the Double while simultaneously reducing the total number of bets.

To suggest that dropping the Rolling Double on consecutive races will drive TAB customers to take their doubles with fixed-odds operators is spurious, given TAB operates an All-To-Come bet, which enables customers to take doubles, trebles etc on races of their choice, consecutive or not.

Ed – thanks to Phumelela for responding promptly to the query

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26 comments on “TAB Respond To SP Poster

  1. Akesh Singh says:

    In bigger fields, serious consideration should be given to introduce the 4th place into the Swinger bets.This would attract interest

  2. Steve Reid says:

    Perhaps Phumelela could comment on the rake from an all-to-come bet? My understanding is the bet works like this and I will use simple arithmetic to illustrate my point. For the sake of my example lets compare a punter wanting to put one hundred rand on three horses who are all even money and for the tote comparison, each horse magically represents precisely half the pool to ensure the even money scenario. All three bets arrive.

    The tote model is thus R100 wins on the first winner in the all-to-come and after the pool is raked at the standard twenty five percent, the payout amounts to R175. ( R100 less 25% plus the stake return ). This R175 rides onto the second winner, also in an exactly 50% of the pool scenario and your winning amount going forward equates to R306.25 ( R175 less 25% plus the stake returned = R306.25). As we all know this will be rounded down to R306.20. This R306.20 is then put onto the last leg of the all-to-come, once again into a hypothetical perfect 50% of the entire pot and duly arrives, paying a final amount of R535.85 ( R306.2 less 25% plus the stake returned and once again adjusted to R535.80 as per the tote rules. Our lucky punter is besides himself with excitement, what a great result for him. Or is it?

    Let’s compare to our fixed odds friends. The same punter walks into Hollywood and asks for R100 on the three even money shots. The ticket is issued at R700/R100 and the treble arrives. The happy punter is taxed 6% on his winning bet and receives R658-00 plus his stake back. A grand total of R758-00.

    Tote pays R535.80, Bookies R758 – a whopping difference of 41.47% all due to the churn on this bet. Now you may think that I’m being unfair on the tote here, I’m actually showing it in as close to the best light that I can. If the tote all-to-come example include a larger amount, and/or higher priced horses, the effect would be more drastic on the punters margin for obvious reasons. R5000 on the tote going forward on a 12/1 shot in the last leg will result in far lower payouts due to the model used to determine tote payouts. I will not even factor in the inevitable stretch that happens more often than not when a bookie accepts a multiple bet.

    spurious definition: 1. false and not what it appears to be, or (of reasons and judgments) based on something that has not been correctly understood.

    In the words of the immortal Manual, the Spanish waiter from Fawlty Towers – “QUE?”

  3. Mr Alarm says:

    I read this story with incredulity. The Tote and its IT is required to be given the green light by the National Gambling Board before it can can change its IT or use the new IT.
    Nothing has been said about the involvement of the NGB. Angry bets that the Tote has made changes without the necessary approvals?

  4. Pops says:

    Phumelela,the Rolling Double(Fixed-odds double) and the All-To-Come double may be related but they are not even cousins.
    If you are saying they are identical twins then there lies the problem.

  5. Pops says:

    Phumelela is being very cute with the reason why they dropping the Rolling Double and saying punters can now take the All-To-Come double.
    If you check past results 99.9% of the time the consecutive Rolling Double pays more by far than if you had taken the All-To-Come double on those same races. So would a punter rather take the Rolling Double than All-To-Come double.?Oh yes
    But does Phumelela want the punter to do that?Oh no.
    Why not? Simple.
    On the your Rolling Double bet Phumelela taxes it once.(Bet R 100 Phumelela pull out @ 25% =R 25)
    All-To-Come double bet Phumelela taxes it TWICE.(Bet R 100 Phumelela pull out @ 25%=R 25.Your first leg wins and pays R 1. Phumelela now takes your winnings R 100 and puts in the pool of your second selection. Phumelela taxes your R 100 again at 25%=R 25.
    So from your initial R 100 bet Phumelela has grabbed R 50.
    Need William the Maths Master to verify this before Phumelela says this is spurious

  6. Charles says:

    Phumelela has not responded to Brendan’s number 5 question.
    5) Why is the tote not operating on an online real time basis? This should have happened decades ago?
    When the horses flash past the post at clear intervals at an Australian meeting, the tote payouts are posted even before the horses are pulled up.And those payouts are never changed.
    Why can that not happen with South African racing?

  7. José says:

    They are useless Phumelela, they should have a punter there on their board then you will see changes

  8. Garrick Bergh says:

    Thank you, Steve. The only amazing point in all of these posts is that we refer to a 25% takeout as if that is OK and acceptable. I have said it a hundred times and I will say it again : No punter goes into a betting shop motivated by a desire to support racing. Their sole intention is to try and make some money. It does not take them too long to work out that the tote is probably the worst option for that nebulous purpose.

  9. proceed says:

    becuase the “big shots’ have to take their share. Truthful

  10. Rod Mattheyse says:

    The tote all to come belongs where it is – nowhere – simple rule of compound interest exacerbated by a tiny betting market actually makes this type of bet the pure definition of the tote deriving income without offering any benefit.

    The fact that the tote offers the all to come bet as a defence is a postcard picture of the reason why the tote finds itself where it is – nowhere – whilst bookmakers are growing at double digit rates. Selling jeans And branded t-shirts and getting a nice club membership at scandalous rates on account does not translate to growing tote pools. Punting retail and Edcon retail are not the same thing. Imposing Edcon retail upon the punting market will result in the same result as Edcon – begging bowls from the PIC – this advice is offered scottfree.

  11. Graham Hurlstone-Jones says:

    They refuse to talk to the punter…..They are not getting it. Punters are not walking away because they have too much choice they are walking away because there is no choice, how to catch the “patterns” and tricks” the carry overs attest to that. When they say “general consensus” who are they talking about ? the elite ? the ones with many hats. No one had any idea what the roulette was, it was thrust upon us. They took the couplings away without consultation. This is how an elite work who suffer no consequences to their unilateral decisions but they tell you what you must have ( socialism comes to mind )…….. “This is critical given that tote turnovers are dropping and that there is general consensus that there are too many bets, especially on horse racing. An excess of betting choices ultimately erodes the critical mass of pools and in turn the integrity of payouts, which for obvious reasons must be prevented” ……..what a load of rubbish. When business goes quiet you open up longer ? you increase your stock choice to try and get customers, not the opposite, its all about choice. Have a look at the choice when you walk into a shop in the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia ( I dont know about the US ), you are spoilt for choice. The only collaboration with punters is when the SP stick up an article that entices “punters” to engage only to quietly disappear that night. A response is unheard of same with daily racing, another race in half an hour, move on please. Nothing is trusted in SA racing, that has been eroded away. They need to hear the conversations at ground zero……The elite saw the car crash coming from the tower, strolled down and are now screaming about the cause, blaming punters under their breath. Explain the outrageous same stable doubles and trebles that come up on a regular basis, not 3 x 3/1 shots but a nice 20/1 and a lot bigger killing the exotics with absolutely no form. Let them have their moment but give back the coupling rule or does that hurt the 40/1 p6 banker ? ( insider trading). They did not answer question 3 the tote is someones playground. The huge P6 feature days are just Nero fiddling, yet again that is our money that we did not win, not clever marketing, They ain’t getting it and the 500K p6’s are on the way, the tipping point has not been reached, this is just the slow death….wait, the restaurant with the bad service is empty. I read the comments and the “punters” really do know their stuff…..Steve ( very cool ) Akesh, Pops, Charles, Garrick, Jose and proceed so far have nailed it. The “elite’ need to hear whats said on the street but maybe Nero’s fiddling is too loud up in the tower ? could be all the hats they are wearing…..? ( a couple of idea’s, two P6’s, drop the minimum bet to R 5 ( think about it ) fluff up the jackpot ( wins and places ), have lucky loser exotics so the punters money goes straight back to the R 5 punter, just ideas, but I am only a punter….for how long ? my table of friends is empty…..

  12. Shanil says:

    Monday blues. Not a single quick mix bet on offer. Tech issues. Whilst we deliberate. Please note that the quick mix bet is popular , so popular that we now have 3 for the day. The reason it’s popular because it offers international races . Please do not include more than one local race in the quick mix. We have more than ENOUGH exotics on offer with our local racing. Bipot pa p6. Etc .

  13. James DH says:

    1.Every major race day experiences bad latency and downtime (upgrade your SYSTEM)
    2.Tab customer service lines and email virtually never get answered (Hire more staff)
    3.Promote British racing where pools are better
    4.After overseas races are won, feed Cuts too soon
    5. Use more split screen services
    6.Get presenters to give dividends on int results
    7. Bring back Shaheen Shaw and Molly as they are GREAT for business
    8.Current presenters are like puppets who give terrible tips and should keep their losing opinions to themselves (sorry)

  14. Hylton says:

    I personally don’t get too excited about the pick 6. It should go back to the old format of no percentage bets, only full units and allow couplings. Then there will be serious payouts and more peole would be drawn to it. And maybe unit to be reduced to 25 cents to make ia permutation more affordable.

    Nobody really gets too thrilled to 1% of payout.
    The lotto draws people in their droves due to large payout. So too should pick 6 it they want to increase turnover..

    Bring the good old days when punters can become rich, if they lucky.

    Plus you draw interest from outside racing with million rand payouts.

  15. Steve Reid says:

    I saw what you did there adios bookies and I like it. The problem we have is that entitlement attitudes have put these amateurs in the position that they find themselves in. A monopoly that due to incompetence is no longer a monopoly, and turnovers continue to head south. Just a few short days ago I was given the middle finger and told that due to what a certain individual and his family had put into the game, I didn’t know what I was talking about. Shame. The answer to these clowns woes stares them in the face every time someone says that magic word “open bet”. The fact that they cannot and will not resolve this by implementing a business solution that results in a win-win speaks volumes of the caliber of management employed by Phumelela. Lets cut off our noses to spite our faces. A very mature and rationale scenario.

    @Garrick nice to see you posting here, I trust that you are well. Nowhere would I ever say that a 25% rake is acceptable. I stated this because this is how this machine is oiled. When those MBA geniuses who have trouble balancing a simple book at Betting World work out that a lower percentage over higher volumes is the answer, we will have gotten somewhere. I’m not holding my breath.

  16. Steve Reid says:

    “Sits back and waits for the Brendon is Steve Reid to start”

    Where have you been the last 10 years dude, its been lonely at times.

  17. Leon Smuts says:

    Its not the number of bets that is a problem but rather the number of punters and the quality of the bets in terms of both enjoyment and returns. Grow the base and most things will fall into line. Being stubborn has a price and sometimes a heavy one. Swallow your pride guys and be guided by what will be good for racing as you are sure to all benefit from this in the long run.

  18. Vinsesh says:

    Sometimes there are system problems as we do work through Amtote. Lets not be to dissapointed and start getting the tote pools up again. Maybe the top brass will hear what the punter is saying as racing does need a make over

  19. joao says:


    What I read above and experience every day of my life is the following. We actually all want a successful tote system, a fair one and a thriving one. That is because we know how that affects our sport in a positive manner.

    Living in the UK now for about 21 years I have been so deprived of tote betting Ill accept 50% rake…lol just kidding.

    What the powers that be fail to see is that even on this tread people are actually demanding it be run correctly as a business and that will lead to that business being supported and that will lead to that business growing and so on and so forth BUT they (the “powers” ) don’t have the ability to accept advice, to challenge the current status. They all owe each other so many favours that they sit in board meetings and say nothing.

    Eventually the tote will expire. That day will be catastrophic for SA racing. Believe me, I know what its like to send a horse to Sedgefield to compete in a maiden for the princely 1st prize of £1800 when just that same day for me to catch the train there to watch it was £140 return……dont get me started on adding training fees, gallop fees, jockeys fees, and the horses transport fees for the day.

    The death of the tote will lower the stake of Maiden races in sa to R20 000 mark my words.

    I do how ever think we should ALL boycott the tote and the open bet for 1 week and bring both parties to attention.

  20. Rod Mattheyse says:

    Leon I am battling with the growth of the grass on my front lawn. If I keep the winter grass it dies in summer, if I put kikuyu it dies in winter.

    I’m now onto putting buffalo grass down…. crossing fingers that this grows

  21. Leon Smuts says:

    Rod the riddle man, perhaps the clue is to be found in the fact that you are doing something rather than nothing. Who knows what will be successful but I can tell you what won’t be.

  22. Roderick Mattheyse says:

    i will be close to suicidal if the buffalo grass doesn’t work

  23. Leon Smuts says:

    Rod, if racing fails tomorrow I would not shed a single tear but for all those who have lost a livelihood. The only thing that would concern me is that it could have been avoided but for the arrogance and greed of a few. Life has so much more to offer than the growing madness of trying to convert those whose agenda is out of sync with reality and good intentions for the sport. Thankfully HKJC sees value in what we are working on but that still doesn’t come with any guarantee of success or introduction. The memorable things that i can take away from the efforts has been the ride and the people I have met in the process. You are a good racing man that I would still like to meet as mentioned previously.

  24. DAMOVA says:

    Just to make the point, ”PHUMELELA NEVER LISTENS” was proven today when I went to watch my horse run at the VAAL today – the track was in an absolutely DISGRACEFUL condition!!!!
    They (Phumelela) are supposed to attract the youngsters & make this great sport enjoyable & exciting, what do THEY do……NOTHING!!!!
    Who the hell would put big money down for a Thoroughbred and get this magnificent beast to run on a track like this, ONLY the died hard like myself who has had horses from 1983!!!
    And then it happened, after inspecting the track, the KNOW ALL’S stated it was SAFE to go ahead for the 7th race (which only had 6 runners) – thank heavens my horse came back unscathed.
    The 8th race was different, it had a large field………..one of the runners broke it leg in the SAME SPOT that the KNOW ALL’S were inspecting!!
    My question is simple: what is Phumelela spending the money on…..definitely not the tracks, who will be held ACCOUNTABLE??
    It is time that racing PROFESSIONALS, who would LISTEN to the owners, trainers & the public were employed and get rid of this AUTOCRACY forever!!!!!!

  25. Butch says:

    Spread the word that Rob Scott has launched the daily double bet. Don’t take the Poweball tonight, nor the Lotto tomorrow. Take Rob Scott’s new Daily Double. It’s going to be life changing! With a pool of R19,010 today at Fairview, you are going to be lost for choices as to how to spend you fortunes from the Daily Double.

  26. Rajen Govender says:

    Lets not play the daily double.Then maybe we get the roll over double back.Just may be.

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