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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