This is one of several history only, non commercial pages relating to the history of the automatic totalizator, its invention in 1913, the inventor George Julius and the Australian company he founded in 1917 which became a monopoly ( later an oligopoly ) in this field. This page relates some history of the American division.
|Americian Division ATUSA|
I received email from Kentucky requesting information on the implementation of early totalizator equipment in America. The business in North America warranted the establishment of a subsidiary company which was called Atusa which is a mnemonic for Automatic Totalisators USA. In 1978 Atusa changed its name to Autotote, the name by which it had become well known throughout the racing and wagering industry in its home market. Autotote was renamed Scientific Games. I have acquired the following information.
|Hialeah Park's Australian totalizator|
Following is an article from The Herald Miami Florida from The Sport Desk by Jack Bell 1932 Titled Hialeah Park's Australian totalizator.
Reprinted with the permission of The Miami Herald.
I'm going to try and tell you a bit about the strangest machine it has been my pleasure to see- The Australian totalizator , to be used in Hialeah Park mutuel plant the coming meeting.
Here is a machine which takes your money, dumps it out the pot records the new total all over the plant, figures up the odds-then prints your ticket and hands it to you. And they tell me the machines will knock off tickets at the rate of 120 per minute.
the Australian machines, never in use in America before, are designed chiefly for the purpose of preventing mistakes and for the swift and accurate computation of the mutuel odds. Old-time horsemen around the track will tell you the " damned thing will never work " in no uncertain terms. They see all the mechanism and shake their heads doubtfully
But L.L. Raymond, manager of the company which manufactures the machines in Sydney, Australia, simply smiles and goes on with the work. He has several assistants here from Australia and they're just about ready to start their machines in operation. In fact, great units of the mechanical device are in operation now.
Now, I'm no mathematician ( thank God ) and can't tell you all about the workings of this machine. But it is one of the most interesting features of Hialeah Park and I'll do my best. Perhaps, if a mathematician explained it, nobody but another expert on figures would know what he was talking about, anyway.
In the first place, you should know that you don't get your ticket until your two bucks are checked into the unit, figured into the pool on your horse and into the total pool on the race-in case of win pools. In place and show pools, of course, the machines can only show the total amounts bet on each horse, until the three money horses are under the wire.
When you place a bet you must do so by number. That is, instead of betting on Twenty Grand, you take his number (say it's 4), go to the window and ask for a " ticket on No. 4." The man at the machine has three loops on his instrument-- win, place and show. If you want a win ticket he presses the point of a little lever into the No. 4 hole in his win numbers. This immediately completes a circuit which automatically adds a $2 bet to the total for that horse and flashes the additional money on over to the win pool on the race.
This operation then releases the little printing device in the machine at the window and your ticket is printed and flipped out to you.
When the windows open there isn't a printed ticket in the plant. Each machine is threaded with a roll of blank paper. When you make a bet and the operator presses his lever point the machine pulls the strip of paper over the printing device, stamps it with the number of your horse, the number of the race and the amount wagered.
This you see, eliminates printing thousands of extra tickets each day, enables the operators to throw open their windows immediately after the race, ready for the next race. And of course the use of the totalizator gives the bettors the chance to place their money right up to the minute the horses are ready to leave the post.
The mutuel machines are controlled from the stewards stand, as the horses go to the post. When the starter gets them lined up and the steward thinks it is time to stop the mutuel wagering on the race, he presses a button.
Thus, the steward stops every mutuel machine in the park. No more tickets can be sold because none can be printed. And the odds do not need to be figured because they are kept right at the actual percentages throughout the betting period of the race.
All this sounds like a heluva a lot of mechanism, doesn't it. Well, it is. That's why the old-timers have joined the anvil chorus; they can't see how all those little gee-gaws and do-dads will ever keep going. We did a lot of wholesale figuring and found that by counting every bit of wire running from the machines to the various boards and other places, we have 195 miles- yessir, 195 miles of wire- running around in the form of cables and whatnot.
They've most of the units running now. They run several hours daily to get "broken in," as we do with the automobiles. At least, we once did new automobiles that way; it has been so long since I saw a new one I don't know what they do with 'em now. But this Australian totalizator never will be as common as the automobile; they do say the whole system has cost Mr. Widener $350,000 which sum, even to Mr. Widener is important money.
You're going to think you're in a weather bureau plant for a few days. The odds on each horse are shown by a device which operates just like huge thermometers. In the win pool ,which will be opposite the grandstand, in the infield, each horse will be represented by a "thermometer". Various odds will be listed on the board and as the money is wagered and recorded on the machines, the mercury columns on the board will rise and fall just as they do on a thermometer - only much faster.
Indicator and tote at Hialeah
Mr. Raymond and his organization seemingly have overlooked nothing in the construction of this marvelous machine. When the money flows in there is a small machine--a unit, as they call it--which collects for each horse in the race. I mean, darn it, there are three such machines for each horse--a win, a place and a show unit. But all the win units are in one group, the place and show units in two others.
Each "horse unit" (let's say we are talking of the win bets now) sends its bets into a larger computation machine as they come in. This machine continuously adds the money, sends the totals along to still another unit, which deducts 10 per cent for "the grand and glorious state of Florida (and may our taxes decrease!)," and the remaining 90 percent goes on to the machines which show the odds on the big board on the infield. These constantly changing odds, as indicated by the barometric readings on the board, are computed by use of a system of angles too complicated for me-and you, too. But it works.
"What if the Florida Power and Light fails?" I ask Mr. Raymond, thinking to find out about many of the objections I hear.
"We've a big dynamo of our own," he replied, "which can be turned on automatically and will operate the machines within 30 seconds after the local power fails."
"What if both power plants fail?"
"We've the usual mutuel system in the plant, ready to use in case of such an emergency. That's in our contract with Mr. Widener. He insisted on it."
" What about large amounts of money? People tell me that if the handle is large machines won't take care of the bets."
" These machines are set to handle $400,000 on each race. And they'll do better than that. If necessary we could set them to handle more. But I don't think you'll get more than that--do you?"
" No," sezzi, a bit dizzy, "I don't." These fellows who talk complacently of such huge figures bother me.
" We handled a million bets one day in Paris," he went on, "and never had a bit of trouble. We've 44 plants in operation in England, France, India, New Zealand and Australia. We're going to Brazil soon to install one there."
They seem perfectly certain that nothing can happen to these machines. Mr. Raymond showed me the operation of a machine, which was uncovered for such demonstration. The tickets are printed on a paper which comes in a roll and is used as the tickets are printed, clipped off and tossed out to the customer.
There will be about 65 machines, if I remember correctly. The greater number will sell $2 tickets, of course, but there will be $5, $10 and $50 machines. The belief all over town that this system will eliminate workmen at the selling windows is not true. Each machine must have an operator. The system merely prevents the operator from getting his tickets mixed up and making other mistakes.
Mr. Raymond says the machine will print 120 tickets a minute if necessary. This will speak in defence of the tales around town to the effect that if a man wants to bet $1,000 the last minute, that he can't get all his money down. The machine operator doesn't need to punch his lever point for every ticket. If he wants to run off 20 tickets of $50 each he merely holds the point down until the machine clicks off the required number--something like the way we used to hold that button on the old Vickers machine gun when le Boche got too pestiferous.
If only you could get your hawss home as easily as you get down a bet on him--!
|Automatic Totalisators Limited 1977 Report to Employees|
|North American division|
The North American division has enjoyed significant growth again this year. During this period of increasing sales and leasing volume, emphasis on cost controls and operating efficiencies was maintained. North American sales increased by approximately 47% for the year, and after tax profits increased by approximately 73%. The North American Division contributed approximately 80% of group profits.
TOTALISATOR OPERATIONS continue to expand with seven computerised totalizator systems placed into service in New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Connecticut, Puerto Rico, Maryland and Kentucky during the year.
Included in this group of new installations is the Meadowlands race track operated by the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority which started operating on September 1, 1976. The Meadowlands ran 181 days of harness racing this year and is scheduled to run 100 days of thoroughbred racing starting later in 1977. It has exceeded all forecasts for attendance and has quickly become one of the largest money handling race tracks in the world. Also included in these new operations is the new Milford Jai Alai in Connecticut. This Jai Alai - as is the case with the Hartford Jai Alai and the Bridgeport Jai Alai at which your Company opened in May and June 1976 respectively - have exceeded original forecasts and have each been averaging in excess of $US500,000 per day totalizator turnover.
In addition to the above openings, contracts have been received during the year for a total of nine lease, operating, sales or service agreements, three of which have opened during the year. The six others are scheduled to open in fiscal 1978.
Activities have been accelerated in both South America and Europe. Representatives have been selected in Mexico, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Peru, Brazil and Colombia and a contract has been obtained for a PDP-11/J17-3 totalizator system for a new race track being built near Bogota, Colombia. This approximately $US 1.5 million system is scheduled to be shipped in late 1977.
A number of other significant negotiations are currently in progress in this territory.
In Europe, headquarters located in Konstanz, West Germany, have been established by the North American Division. From this office, potential business is being actively pursued for on track, off track and on line lottery system contracts in Germany, Sweden, Finland, Belgium, England, Italy, Greece and the Netherlands. Management is optimistic that within the next few years this significant effort aimed at developing business in this market will be fruitful.
NEW MARKET DEVELOPMENT activities have been accelerated in the areas of lotteries, off track betting and parking systems.
Two new lottery contracts have been obtained. One is for the implementation of a manual system in the State of New Hampshire which went into operation in March of this year. The other is for a prototype system designed to put the Massachusetts State Lottery customer-marked betting slip system, a part of which we provided in 1976, on line in real time. The Research and Development group in the United States have developed the J25 terminal in response to this contract. A prototype Terminal was delivered to Massachusetts in September 1977, the balance of the prototypes are scheduled for delivery to Massachusetts in October. Initial reaction of Massachusetts State Lottery officials has been very favourable. We feel that the J25 terminal responds to both lottery and off-track betting needs for a fast reliable terminal capable of handling keyboard input simultaneously for both selling and cashing functions in a real time, on line mode. If this prototype installation is successful, it is expected that significant new orders for on line lottery terminals and systems will result. Inquiries have already been received for the J25 terminals from other lotteries and off track betting applications in the United States, Europe and South America.
The Parking System Division successfully installed a Parcotax revenue control system at the new Philadelphia International Airport garages and it has been operating to our customers satisfaction ever since. A new contract has been obtained from Kinney System Inc. for the Philadelphia Market Street East parking garage and successfully installed at that location. A contract has also been received from the City of Cedar Rapids, lowa, for a parking system for a large hotel and shopping complex parking area. The system includes both automated, self service pre cashiering stations and Dectocard monthly contract parking revenue control as well as entrance and exit traffic control equipment.
Sales activities aimed at expansion of the Parking Systems Division penetration of North American markets are actively being pursued. Negotiations are currently under way for revenue control installations at parking facilities in a number of major airports and municipal parking garages in the United States and Canada.
Trends in our basic on track wagering systems industry continue upward. Lotteries and off track betting markets are expected to yield significant business for your Company during the next several years. Toward this end, emphasis continues on the development of on line sell/pay terminals by the totalizator Division in Sydney combined with the Research and Development activities in the United States aimed at North American Division markets.
The parking systems business, while still in its infancy shows considerable promise. Further opportunities for intelligent diversification are expected to materialise in the near future. These will be pursued with the view to further broaden our base of operations and to enhance our ability to produce secure and increasing profitability.
|ATL international name in totalizator betting systems.|
This is an extract from a company booklet with the above name. Note - In the interests of political correctness, I have removed the names of the countries whose export trade are compared to the totalizator turnover.
What makes Aqueduct one of the great racecourses of the world? Horses like Damascus who raced 10 furlongs there in 1.59 1/5 seconds and people, like the crowd of 73,435 who spent over six million at a single meeting at "Big A" on a big betting day in May 1965. Horses and people who create these records make a racecourse great by any standards.
Aqueduct and its sister courses, Belmont Park and Saratoga, controlled by the New York Racing Association, ( N.Y.R.A. ), in a single season cater for an attendance equal to the total population of Australia. Their combined totalizator turnover in a single season - seven hundred million dollars - exceeds the total annual export trade of ... or .... When N.Y.R.A. decided to install the world's first Electronic totalizator System to handle its enormous turnover of people and money, it selected ATL to do the job. The Aqueduct equipment is portable and is also used at Belmont Park and Saratoga. The outstanding thing about the equipment which serves all three courses is its durability... it operates on huge turnover figures on 234 race days each year!
The Aqueduct Computer Room
Smaller general purpose computers with most of the features of the Aqueduct system now serve a growing number of racecourses in other parts of the world.
When electronic data processing was in its infancy back in the early 1950s, ATL was researching ways and means of bringing electronics into its totalizator systems. ATL anticipated the day of the computerised, fully electronic totalizator System years ahead of any other Company and its planning engineers intensified their research in the dynamic new field of automatic data processing. When the racing world decided to use the computer for racecourse operations, ATL was ready. The most spectacular evidence of depth of ATL research is that it was called upon to design its very first Electronic totalizator System not for one average size racecourse - which would have been in itself a challenge - but for a circuit of three racecourses with the biggest combined totalizator turnover in the world ... Aqueduct, Saratoga and Belmont Park which are controlled by the New York Racing Association. An enormous amount of research and planning, long before being invited to submit its Electronic totalizator proposal to New York Racing Association, enabled ATL to take on this massive task and complete it so successfully. ATL Research never stops. Having now attained what some years ago would have been regarded as impossible levels of accuracy, reliability and operational speed, ATL research engineers are constantly searching the world market for the latest electronic equipment, improving methods of design and manufacture whether the equipment be electro-mechanical, partially or fully electronic.
ATL's equipment testing program is incredibly painstaking. A newly- designed ticket issuing machine, for example, will issue a million consecutive tickets without one fault as a minimum requirement of its accuracy and durability.
ATL designed and manufactured the first Electronic Odds Computer, the first Electro-mechanical " Totemobile", the first Mobile Computer Unit for Electronic totalizator operation and the first Electronic Ticket Issuing Machine. Intensive research enabled the Company to give the racing world these innovations.
By no means the least important facet of ATL research is that which it carries out on a racecourse where its equipment is to be installed. If there is one thing unique about ATL's approach it is that every one of its totalizator installations has been specially designed for the racecourse it serves.
ATL makes a complete survey of the layout of each race course prior to the signing of the contract and its planning engineers take every aspect into consideration - the location of selling and payout windows, indicator boards, intercom systems and the totalizator Control Room Complex- so that the racing public will be served speedily, efficiently and reliably.
Over half a century of research and experience is built into every piece of equipment ATL supplies to racing clubs around the world.
|Las Vegas related by William Johnson Jr|
I have been communicating with William Johnson, an ex ATL Engineer and Manager about company history. I finally met him this year 2009 at the ATL reunion. He informed me that ATL had an installation in Las Vegas something that I had not heard before. William, in his youth, assisted his father, also William Johnson, installing and commissioning this system. Following is some information and photographs that William provided to me at the reunion. I particularly liked the box William Johnson Snr. is sitting on with the ATL diamond logo stamped on it.
Infield Indicator at Las Vegas, Nevada, 1951.
My father William Sydney Johnson (1911-1966) on the left and Fred James on the right. Bill is preparing a shutter indicator for installation. It is a small unit, may be used as a horse number or unit of money etc.
The indicator board may have been shipped complete including motors, wiring harnesses, shutter mounting slides, aluminium facia, rubber seals and glass? (Caracas was the same except for lightboxes instead of shutter indicators).
Fred may be attaching the guides for the shutters. Above him you can see a shaft with bearings. This shaft had pulleys fitted with stainless steel braid wound on to raise and lower the shutters. This stopped the punters seeing the blinds reset to 999 or 99-1. It also kept the light off the blind material when not in use.
The blind material was treated cambric. Laid out in a long length on a bench at ATL in Chalmers Street, Sydney, it would have a rectangular hole punched out alongside each "odd" (or the expression for 2nd type of displaying money return escapes me). This hole allowed a feeler (like a relay leaf with a centre contact) to change position in bridge circuit to follow the transmitter from the machine room, either the odds or the information from the dividends controller etc.
The box my father is sitting on was typical of the Packing Department's care in transporting totalisators to many places world wide.
Temperature here was 120 degrees F in the shade. Salt tablets and a large amount of water were compulsory every day!
Bill & Fred were accompanied by their families and two years seemed to be a tour of duty in those days.
WSJ outside and Kirk (USA citizen) inside at Las Vegas.
Two William Johnsons at work in the desert Sun.
|President's Introduction to Autotote Quarterly Spring 1977|
Autotote Quarterly was an Autotote company magazine. This introduction was extracted from the Spring 1977 copy of Autotote Quarterly and was written by Martin Zwerin President Automatic Totalisators Inc.
During this past quarter, we continued to expand our international activities by establishing Auotote’s European headquarters in Konstanz, Germany, under the directorship of Ladislav F. Jaros, an engineer and international businessman with over a decade of totalisator experience.
While the company has been active in Europe for over fifty years, we are now looking at the racing markets there with renewed interest. Europe’s complex wagering forms point to possible early application of our sell/cash systems based around our new J22 and J24 sell/cash terminals just recently demonstrated here in the U.S.
In South America we have just finalized a contract with Columbia’s Hipodromo de Los Andes. Their PDP-11 based system will utilize our new J17-3 electronic keyboard terminals first installed in the U.S. at Meadowlands.
Here in the United States, growth and planned expansion in the wagering industries give us reason for optimism. The proliferation of horse racing dates, which is now taking its toll on that segment of the pari-mutuel industry, has given rise to increased inter-industry concern and in turn increased cooperation bent on solving the common problems that face all arms of racing.
|A US Patent G.A.Julius & F.A.Wilkinson 1918|
Following is a US patent US1288910 (A) - 1918-12-24 courtesy of The United States Patent and Trademark Office. On 16 May 2013, I received an email from Richard Irwin. He informed me that his grandfather Frederick Augustus Wilkinson worked on the development of the tote with George Alfred Julius. Richard's brother Murray had contacted me with the same information several years prior, however I did not have the time to investigate this any further at the time. Unfortunately nothing is known about Frederick's association with George. It is clear that F.A.Wilkinson appears on this document as the co-inventor of this Ticket Issuing Machine with G.A.Julius. If anyone can provide information on F.A.Wilkinson and this history please email me at the address at the bottom of this page.
I note that in this patent it states that George Julius is residing at Culwulla Chambers Castlereagh Street Sydney. This is the head office of George's engineering consulting company Julius Poole And Gibson. The CSIRO was founded in a back office of Julius Poole And Gibson in this building. George did not have far to go to work! I presume the only transportation he required were the high speed lifts that Julius Poole And Gibson had installed at Culwulla Chambers.
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