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Tote Turnover – Pressure, But What’s Being Done?

Exotics fall short on Summer Cup day

While the World Sports Betting Gauteng Summer Cup meeting at Turffontein on Saturday provided some thrilling racing action and terrific equine performances on the track, the performance of the exotic pools must be of concern to Phumelela Business Rescuer John Evans, or whoever else is running the show or trying to balance the books up North.

Despite a welcome R5 million injection in the Pick 6, and a projection of R20 million, the nett reached a few rand short of R14,6 million.

None of the other exotics on the day attained the projected numbers, with the Jackpot 1 achieving a particularly disappointing R1 062 222 against a R2 million target.

A few callers to the Sporting Post this afternoon asked if this was poor performance – or simply poor guesstimating?

Betting turnover is one of the golden keys to opening the door and getting out of the current grind.

But confidence in the tote’s ability to provide a transparent and trustworthy product, delivered with service and a smile, was not exactly enhanced with a recent Jackpot Quickmix curved ball.

The exotic bet run on 11 November had a dividend declared of R11-40 and despite protestations by various players, went unresolved for a full ten days.

Multi venue bets can be tricky in terms of co-ordination of leg order, but we have to wonder about effective closing controls.

In the instance under discussion, the first leg from Geelong was delayed an hour or so – and given the knock on effect at this venue, the second and fourth leg of the Quickmix were run prior to the first and third.

Former Kenilworth Racing Chairman Vidrik Thurling had already launched his own research into this particular payout and was instrumental in assisting us in arguing the case that the dividend of R11-40 had induced a sense of shock – to put it mildly – and was clearly a grossly distorted version of the historically average outcome of a bet with the kind of individual results produced.

Thurling argued that based on personal historical experience, and the simple straight line mathematics of tote win payouts, that the dividend clearly warranted, at the very least, an investigation.

“The regular punter is inevitably the best judge of a dividend. There are cases of variations, but generally the punter knows what to expect in a dividend,” he added.

We did not receive an answer from TAB as to how  the mechanics of closing a bet work and whether this process is supervised under dual control.

We asked whether, in the case of multi venue bets – like the Quickmix / Blitz – whether the closing process was different to a single venue item, where the races are usually run in natural time sequence.

We posed the direct question whether this particular Quickmix closed late – and whether it is possible that this bet was only closed after the running of two legs?

We were also interested to learn whether TAB have an exceptions audit process, where this kind of issue – ie the strange dividend – can be picked up proactively?

We asked if they were not investigating the matter, whether they were prepared to furnish us with the audit roll /details of the individual bets struck.

At the end of the day, those players who utilise Telebets and play online would have been thrilled to learn via a TAB media release on 21 November that an unprecedented software glitch generated an incorrect payout and the R11-40 had been adjusted to a far more friendlier and realistic, R3694.

TAB accountholder balances were automatically adjusted but retail customers were requested to lodge a claim in the normal way or contact TAB Customer Care.

So where does that leave the less sophisticated non-internet access man in the street, who may have collected his fraction of the R11-40 via a tote ticket over the counter?

He’s sadly probably none the wiser.

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32 comments on “Tote Turnover – Pressure, But What’s Being Done?

  1. Stephen Jennings says:

    The service levels i.e customer service, lack of energy,lack of knowledge of the product the tellers are meant to promote,not to mention the time the staff are spending on their cell phones on private stuff.The staff are not been managed. This is the pattern througout most the tote outlets. I would rather stay away.

    1. Editor says:

      Send us the outlet names on email if your prefer Stephen
      We can pass it on

  2. Leon Smuts says:

    Flawed guestimate, lack of support or a bit of both, it should be accepted that the tote is only just entering a rebuild phase and that this is the new reality for the industry at this point. It would be unfair to assume that the operator is solely responsible for all current woes as the economic climate is generally very weak with most industries taking a beating and people far more conservative in their spending and prioritising of discretionary income.

    It is for this very reason that the tote should be supported so that maximum benefits could be returned to racing and its stakeholders via stakes and improvements in infrastructure and service.

    I have spoken before about the risks of relying on a static or declining customer base and the importance of providing reasons for people to return to the tote and the vital function of building new and growing markets for the sport. Everything we see now with low stakes and disappointing pools on display is the result of the damage done to racing over many years of neglect and the misallocation of funds mostly away from the core.

    Better service, systems, products and probably reduced takeout should form the foundation for regaining the trust and increased support from loyal customers and the many that have left for greener pastures.

    If the pools are highlighting anything it is the need to take racing out to the uninitiated public and to turn it into the peoples sport again. Once the right things are in place it will amaze even the strongest current critic how unexpectedly momentum could be gained in all areas lacking at present.

    It is getting the ship to turn and head in the right direction that will require a huge effort, but we should give the new owners some time in challenging circumstances, both externally and internally, to get things set up and done.

  3. theunisj says:

    maybe they should bring back the couplings…the pick 6 is loosing patrons because its already hard to catch and now its even harder

  4. Donald Bradshaw says:

    The horse racing industry treats their customers like a ” necessary nuisance ” and Casinos treat their customers like ” kings ” and until this fundamental issue is resolved and arrested by applying customer service principles pools will remain in free fall , the open bet and a weak economy also do not help the cause.

  5. Marina Munro says:

    I agree with the comment that the couplings should be brought back into play. It’s expensive to take a jackpot or Pick 6 that covers all the bases. If you’re out in 1 leg your bet is over. If you play a quartet you’ve got a new chance every race. It also bugs me if a trainer has more than one horse in a race and couplings are not in play. I would rather not play a Jackpot or Pick 6 then.

  6. Shanil Singh says:

    The comment taking racing to the inititiated public has failed by the wrong people entrusted with this task in the past. Whats different now. Its time to bring back the 4th place pa. 4 th place payout in 14 or more horses. 50 percent of the pick 6 pool should pay a consolation payout of 5 legs if pick 6 not won. Punters are not interested in large pick 6 carryovers won by a few with the dysfunctional merit rated system and poly tracks being a big contributor to the formless results.

  7. Mark Gullan says:

    Why not split the pool if a coupling wins? Like a dead heat
    Then a punter who prefers the bigger priced winning coupling can be rewarded . Dingaans is the perfect example- Peter stable had 2 runners and the higher priced horse won
    Many P6 players strive to catch the big payout
    I stopped owning and punting since Nov 2018. Not worth investing in a spineless NHA controlled industry.
    I was called by a friend who told me a possible 20mil pool yesterday , naturally couldn’t resist a possible larger than normal payout

  8. John Mynhardt says:

    Horseracing should be the public’s property… not a select part of the public. Why is teletrack a pay channel/website ensuring only a fraction of the public can access SA racing ??? Thrir is no engagement with the greater public to build racing among the public. Even owners are not engaged with to get their inputs. The tecnology is available to engage eith all owners but thus does not seem to be a issue for the powers that be. Years ago when you asked someone in the streets who Wolf Power is 8 out if 10 people could answer you. Even after this weekend if I walk into a mall and ask people who Summer Pudding is… I bet you will lucky if 1 out of 10 people could tell you… horseracing has been killed by people with no passion for the sport in this country. Then I talk to friends in other countries and it is totally different than here. Thus there is no excusses…. just the worst disconnect by management ever !!!

  9. John Mynhardt says:

    Most of the comments here miss the point. Taking 5 pizzas and cutting each inyo 8 pieces of 10 or 12 does not change the fact that there is only 5 pizzas. How you cut the pizzas is not the issue… the issue is you need to buy MORE PIZZAS !!!!

  10. Alan says:

    Bring back the couplings and that will attract all the punters who stopped punting the P6 when the couplings were stopped.

    1. Editor says:

      Alan Laird

  11. Sean says:

    Stephen, you summed up part of the problem no customer service. I have decided not to go down to any tote as there is no service and they are filthy. Even when you have exotics coming up instead of staff encouraging customers to take their bets etc they are nowhere to be found we have had times where there is not a single staff member at their workstation. What a joke! My 5c worth. What about reducing the R1 to 50c and see if it could provide some renewed interest. I would probably spend more than I would at the R1 bet as I could have more selections.

    1. Editor says:

      Sean Coetzee

  12. Vivian Mansour says:

    Please, far too many bets. One jackpot per race meeting, bring the double back to R1 ..not with a minimum of R6.00 per double. You cannot take a perm double anymore without spending a fortune!!! Why a swinger and an exacter. Cut the similar bets out, less choices better payouts. Also cheaper bets. Mimimum still R6 but thereafter if you take a perm double bring the minimum back to R1. Swinger is the perfect example. Watch oversea ..one jackpot, no trifecta but a huge quartet pool. Everyone just wants to make money..,well it’s the “price” of the bet at the end that is important. The only RIGHT thing SA betting does is fractional betting the rest needs considerate thought on the type of bet offered and the amount you expecting the punter to layout. Your small punter is your “king”

  13. Stephen Jennings says:

    Bad service at Cafe du ville Tableview. This was mentioned just before lockdown. I was promised an email that was going to to investigate the problem but nothing was done about it.

  14. Gold circle needs to wake up.During the busy month ends evenings, they have just one person in admin doing allocations for on-line deposits.This is ridiculous and ends up with me throwing a tantrum with th clerk in charge.I suppose they can’t afford a 2nd clerk whilst the fat cats are paid exorbitant salaries.

    1. Editor says:

      We have asked GC for a comment Praga

    2. Editor says:

      Gold Circle are making contact with you Praga
      Let us know how the issue unravels

  15. John Mynhardt says:

    None of these suggestion makes a difference ! The only solution is to increase the number of punters !!!! We have lost a whole generation which have no interest in racing… but during this period massive bonuses was paid to the people in charge.

  16. Ralph Fell says:

    When will the diehards realise that horseracing is on the brink of imploding. Instead the tired platitudes are rolled out with monotonous regularity. 1. Attract the younger generation to the dilapidated racecourses. 2. Reintroduce couplings. 3. Fix Tellytack. 4. Have more punter friendly bet types. 5. Obtain comments from all trainers on their charges well being. 6.Several of the above comments which frankly will not make an iota if any/all of them are introduced. It’s time for a reality check. The gambling/leisure rand has all but dried up – mine has. The barrage of negative events over the past three years from ‘ the corridors of power ‘ has led to a climate of scepticism and mistrust. Yet not one suit has been called to account. MOD – MIA? Having raced for 53 years I feel I have an overview of what was and what now exists. On a nostalgic note I recall attending on May 1st. 1990 ( Workers’ Day) a meeting at Gosforth Park. I stood in the queue for 20 minutes to purchase my entrance ticket. The atmosphere was electric. I would estimate the attendance at + – 15000. I doubt reintroducing couplings will entice those numbers to a racecourse in the future.

  17. Leon Smuts says:

    Mr Fell, the product isn’t stale, just the packaging. Few things offer a more competitive and unpredictable blend of results than a horse race and very few other activities can match it for daily content. The challenge is how to put this together for best effect to a market that loves competing, but in a way that continually showcase the excitement of the sport. This will require completely new products and formats to achieve but believe me, they are out there and racing will in future be exposed to these, and hopefully sooner than can be imagined.
    Concur with much of what you are saying but the future of racing is not the traditional die hard breed of punter of our era, but a new rivalry minded group of all ages. New groups can be very successfully targeted with the racing program on offer if reaching out with more innovative offerings.

  18. hilton witz says:

    Leon how is your innovative offerings doing in australia?

  19. Donald Bradshaw says:

    Not ONE horse racing industry executive , manager , official or spokesperson has made any attempt to advise that the industry is implementing 1 , 2 , 3 ………………….. to address this very serious matter, but then again , what does one expect in a ” closed shop ” industry ?

    Just to cite two examples : Gold Circles refusal to revert to their fields reflecting the top weight as No. 1 despite the outcry from 90% of its customers that this experiment has not worked.

    The failure of the NHRA to explain to customers how and why the Gazala Gallop / Banzai Pipeline objection was over ruled ?

    These two matters may not be directly related to tote turnovers but one will be surprised how mismanagement of issues and controls cause horse racing clients to lament ” not for me ” !

  20. Don says:

    My opinion is that the smaller punters, those that have a very limited budget have been taken out of the game completely, as these were majority in building pools. Drop minimum bets to R1 or 1%, whichever the greater, the bigger punters will still play their normal bets, but will have a flood of smaller players coming in.

    1. Editor says:

      Plse include your surname Don

  21. Donavan Harris says:


  22. Tony says:

    A great bet was always the consolation double , if you ran 2nd and 1st or 1st and 2nd you would still show a profit or break even and sometimes the consolation would pay bigger than the double ,why would you take a double with a bookmaker if you have a better chance of winning with this bet on the tote,i have asked them before to bring it back but if its not there idea they ignore you ,and yes bring the couplings back it gives the punter a greater chance of winning and is that not who they should be looking after and as for the objection between Gazala Gallop and Banzai Pipeline it was a digrace and they should be relieved of there post immidiatey we are not playing with monopoly money.

    1. Editor says:

      Tony Jacob

  23. Jay Dhunraj says:

    I have asked Gold Circle if they can open early only on weekends when there is Shatin or Kranji. The PA and Bipot starts at 8.00am and 8.30am but the telebet call center opens at 9.00am. We the smaller punters that was told to open telebet accounts during lock down loses out on these bets. Gold circle hasn’t responded because they don’t care and they expect to have larger pools for the exotic bets.

    1. Editor says:

      Pased on to GC for a comment, Jay

  24. Jay Dhunraj says:

    I did write about this previously but phumelela responded by opening early. I bet with gold circle and this message is directed to them

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