This page contains a photograph which is one of several belonging to the photo gallery pages which are part of several company and technology history pages relating to the invention of the world's first automatic totalizator in 1913 and Automatic Totalisators Limited, the company founded to develop, manufacture and export these systems.

Copyright © 1997 - 2018 Email -

World's Biggest Tote-Electro Mechanical Computer Room

This image shows the adding equipment at White City Stadium London in 1933. The electromechanical shaft adders can be seen on the tables. On the wall on the left hand side of this image is the Switchboard and Scanner Panels. The switchboard provides control as well as status information and is visible behind the second pillar in the left hand row of pillars. The Scanner Panels contain scanners, which are electromechanical time division multiplexers, which along with the overlap relays and other integral equipment constitute the Julius Tote front end system. A 1937 article in an Australian newspaper, The Referee billed this system as the World's Biggest Tote. Read more after the image...

Click here to go Back
Click on the image to go back to the Photo Gallery

If you arrived from navigating the website, use the navigation bar at the bottom of this page.

1937 'World's Biggest Tote Ready Next Month.', Referee (Sydney, NSW : 1886 - 1939), 20 May, p. 1, viewed 14 May, 2015,

The Referee 20th May 1937 Page 1
London ToWhite City's
Lead the World
In the newspaper article
Big Scheme
there is an image of the
Randwick Tote indicator
and tower titled
The Randwick Tote
( Special to "The Referee"London, May 3
By Air Mail)
in this column
| BIGGEST totalisator  1500 to operate it, and|
| in the world is being  will be ready next|
| built at the White City,  month.|
| London.  It will handle money|
| It will cost £750,000, need a staff of        |       at the rate of£8000 a minute.|

Webmaster's Note: I have not continued to emulate the layout in the paper as I have done above, where it is a bit difficult to represent without columns.

IT will be three times the size of the present-largest, that at the Longchamps racecourse, Paris, and will be bigger than the totes at Ascot, Epsom, and Newmarket combined.
The construction of this giant building is part of a scheme to make the White City the greatest sporting stadium in the world.

Webmaster's comment: It is apparent, from the above comment about White City being three times the size of Longchamps, that in the past, totes were not gauged by the capacity of the totalisator but its buildings. Longchamps was the second largest Julius Tote that I am aware of with 273 terminals making it close to White City with 320.

This move would seem to indicate that the sporting authorities of England are at last waking up to the need for making better provision for the general public whose support keeps the game going on a large scale.

Double System

The largest totalisators in Australia are, of course, those at Randwick and Flemington.
To house and install the machine at Randwick involved a cost of about £200,000. The installation in Melbourne cost more than that.
Taking the whole of the States in which the machine is in use it may be estimated that the cost of installation, buildings, etc., would very nearly equal in the aggregate the £750,000 that is being expended on the establishment of the Julius Totalisator at London White City. In proportion to the population, therefore, Australia's totalisator accommodation eclipses that of the White City.

There are many people, however, who, rightly or wrongly, believe that the Randwick tote would be taxed beyond the limit of its capacity if one or two reforms were introduced. In most other countries one of the good "drawcards" where racing is concerned is the "double" system of betting on the machine. These doubles have proved very popular in England, in India, and South Africa, and have done a good deal towards popularising racing among the general public.

It is believed that an all-round 5/- Tote in the Paddock would also aid in attracting people to the course, and more especially women. This would appear to have been the experience in Victoria. For some time past the A.J.C. has been feeling the competition of "S.P." betting. Not a few believe that if the Tote were popularised on the lines suggested thousands of people would be attracted to the course, and the "S.P." betting competition would not be so severely felt by the leading racing Club of the State.

Punters' Pin-Pricks

There is another way in which the totalisator could be made more popular at Randwick--by abolishing the "change" windows.

Commonly people have the irritating experience of having to stand in queues to obtain change. At Randwick, patrons of the machine are obliged to tender the exact amount when purchasing tickets: Then they have to stand in another line-up to collect their money. At Flemington there is no need to bother about change. Change is given at the selling windows and tickets are sold just as quickly as they are at Randwick, where the right amount of money is handed in for tickets.

These experiences cause many people to patronise the books instead of the totalisator, and the club thus loses a certain amount of revenue each year.

Tote Figures Down

The totalisator returns at Randwick are now substantially short of what they were in the years before the period of depression. Round about 1921-22 the machine put through a total of about £1,250,000 a year.

On "big" fixtures about 400 men and women are employed in running the totalisator at Randwick. The number at Flemington would be larger, for the all-round 5/- tote makes more work. The Julius machine (that is to say, the Australian machine) has also been in use in France for some years. It cost about £140,000 to install the totalisator on the principal course there.

Questioned concerning suggested alterations at Randwick, Mr. Raymond (manager of Automatic Totalisators Ltd.) said the installation of a 5/- totalisator in the saddling paddock would involve heavy additional expenditure.
What the amount would be he could not say, but it would not be as great as a new installation. The introduction of a 5/- machine would mean structural alterations on a large scale.

The figures quoted indicate that far more money, a head of the population, has been expended on totalisator accommodation for the racing public of Australia than in any other country -- but this is not, of course, an argument against placing the machine on the same level at Randwick as at Flemington in the matter of serving public convenience.--"Warrawee."

A smaller White City The First Automatic Totalisator in Tasmania

The following extract from the Trove National Library of Australia Newspaper archive demonstrates that Automatic Totalisators had a diverse range of customers, this one of the same name but at home. Launceston Greyhound Racing Club Invermay, a beautiful place, just across the North Esk River from Automatic Totlisators Ltd's office at 93 Cameron Street in Launceston. The Automatic Totalisators Ltd's office in Hobart at the T&G Building 113 Collins street was not far from The Mercury Newspaper building whence the following article originated.

1951 'AUTOMATIC "TOTE" FOR WHITE CITY.', The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954), 16 March, p. 16, viewed 14 May, 2015,


THE first automatic totalisator to operate in Tasmania will be installed for the Launceston Greyhound Racing Club at White City, Invermay, within six months.

The club committee decided at a meeting this week to order the machine from Automatic Totalisators, of Sydney.
The machine will be of the Julius "Premier" type, wholly designed in Australia.
Variations of the Julius "Premier" have been installed by the Australian company on dozens of racecourses, and trotting and greyhound tracks overseas.

The world's largest totalisator, consisting of 320 issuing machines, is of the same type.
It is installed at the White City Stadium in London.

It is understood that the initial cost of installing the totalisator in Launceston will be small, and that the club will be committed only for alterations to the existing totalisator house so that the machine may be properly housed.

It ls believed that Automatic Totalisators Ltd. will take a percentage of the total totalisator turnover, but the club secretary (Mr. H. G. Sturges) would not confirm this yesterday.

Nor would he disclose the amount of the percentage to be paid to the company.

Place Dividends On Same Basis

He said that place dividends would still be declared on the 60-20-20 percentage basis, and that it would be possible to secure both win and place tickets at each issuing window.

The machine will sell only in units of 5/, and temporarily it will operate solely from the existing totalisator house with the same number of issuing windows.

However, eventually additional windows may be provided at the rear of the eastern end of the main stand to cope with the large volume of betting on cup nights, and other meetings at which attendance soars above the average.

Boards indicating the odds will be similar to those installed on Mainland racecourses.

The indicators will show the actual odds without addition of the stake to determine a dividend.
The club committee hopes that the machine will be in operation early in the new season which begins on August 1.

Rod Richards Remembers Tasmania's White City Tote

In June 2015, Rod Richards, an ex ATL engineer sent the following information on Tasmania's White City Tote:

Not Long after returning to the factory from holidays, in January 1952; which incidentally was from a tour of Tasmania which included a 10 day bushwalk through Lake St Claire National Park, I was asked to go to Tasmania to assist in the installation of the White City totalisator, which was nearing completion, this would have been about February /March 1952. Vic Miller was the engineer in charge of the Tasmanian operation.

I was in Tasmania for several weeks and apart from the White City installation; the totalisator was operating but required some finishing, I travelled to Hobart to operate the ATL tote at the Hobart Showgrounds (Elwick) Harness Track of a Saturday night. This usually involved catching the bus from Launceston early Saturday morning, running the meeting Saturday night then returning to Launceston on Sunday.

From memory; now 64 years ago, the Hobart tote seemed complete and had been operating for some time, I would imagine that both the Hobart and Launceston installations would have been carried out at much the same time, unfortunately I do not have more information to go on. I have briefly tried to find some information on ATL operations in Tasmania via the internet, but so far have not seen anything of interest.

Another apprentice at the time, Goldie Buffet, also came to Launceston to assist at White City. We all stayed at the Mowbray hotel, this was close to White City and the Mowbray racecourse, which Mowbray I think was being considered for a tote, this I am not very clear on.

Fancy Line

Comments and suggestions welcome to animated email icon

The "Next page" button below presents the second page of three relating to The World's Biggest Tote at White City Stadium London.
The "Previous page" button below presents the previous World's Biggest Tote at Longchamps in France.

Previous page Go to the index Top of the page Next page