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Old 06-12-2002, 09:22 PM   #1
rrbauer
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Odds' Changes after the Bell

Mike Marten who is the PIO for the CHRB provided this to me in response to my request for an explanation of how betting is stopped over the simulcast network when a race goes off (in layman's terms).


From: "Mike Marten"
Date: Wed, 12 Jun 2002 16:30:01 -0700
Subject: Late Odds Changes


In response to the many comments about changes to odds after the start of a race, here is what I know:
One of the stewards at each racetrack is responsible for pushing the "close pools" button when the gates open. This electronic signal instantly shuts down wagering at the racetrack and transmits a stop-betting signal to all other wagering locations. It only takes a fraction of a second for this signal to reach all locations because under the inter-tote protocol, this signal has the highest priority. In terms of the computer world, this signal blasts through all of the other processes. The only exception is when a data link goes down and the signal does not reach one of its targets. In that case, the host system generates an error message to alert the pari-mutuel manager, who then must contact the off-site wagering location to determine the problem. If necessary, the pari-mutuel manager issues a "close and clear" command, which deletes the off-site location from the on-track pools. It is then up to the off-site authorities to either advise their fans that the wagers were not placed or to treat those wagers as a separate pool and pay out accordingly. This is not a common occurrence, but it does happen.

The important thing to remember is that none of this occurs under the radar screen. Authorities know when the stop-betting signal doesn't reach a site. The only question is how they want to handle it.

The tote system takes wagers and provides odds updates every 60 seconds. Since the race usually starts in the middle of a 60-second cycle, the various totes must go through a series of housekeeping routines - collecting bets made prior to off time but still in the pipeline, etc. The off-site totes package the ppropriate pool data for that race and forward it to the on-track tote. The on-track tote processes its own pools and collects the data being received from the other totes. Even after the start, the on-track tote may go through one or two more cycles before all of the data is received. Each cycle only shows what has been received to that point. When this process is complete, the on-track tote can show the final odds, then calculate the payouts for the pools once the race is official.


Hope this sheds some light on what happens and given the timing cycles, how odds' changes can easily happen after the "bell has rung".

And before you start whacking away at how it should be, please remember that I'm just the messenger!!

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Old 06-12-2002, 09:47 PM   #2
so.cal.fan
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Thumbs up

Thanks RB
I just printed your post. I know lots of guys who would be interesting in reading it.
It is a subject of much discussion in my circles, as well.
Thanks for your time and effort getting MM's response.
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Old 06-12-2002, 09:48 PM   #3
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Richard,

Thanks for the detective work.

I don't think it is possible to handle it in a much more efficient manner. I guess they could have a special cycle after the bell that executed immediately rather than on the 60 second clock, but otherwise the system seems to work pretty efficiently.

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Old 06-13-2002, 12:05 AM   #4
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Well they could close the pools at post time before the race goes off but they'd miss out on a little of the handle. I get the feeling that they'd wait all day to have a race go off if they could so that there would be more in the pools.
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Old 06-13-2002, 12:28 AM   #5
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Rick:

Amen!
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Old 06-13-2002, 12:53 AM   #6
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They could close the pools ten minutes before the race, and you'd still have basically the same phenomenon. The pools would close, and then 30 seconds or so later, you'd see your beloved 5-1 shot drop down to 2-1. Argh!

There would still not be anything to be done about it, but I suppose it would end discussion of bets being placed after the race went off.

When people start ranting and raving about the odds changes I view that pretty much the same as when people say, "He was stiffed!" or "The fix was in!" It's just loser-talk for the most part.

It doesn't mean it NEVER has happened, just as I'm sure some races ARE fixed...
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Old 06-13-2002, 01:05 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Rick
Well they could close the pools at post time before the race goes off but they'd miss out on a little of the handle. I get the feeling that they'd wait all day to have a race go off if they could so that there would be more in the pools.


When I frequented DeD years ago, they never started a race on time. When they announced post time, everyone knew they had at least five minutes to get their wagers in. That's if they didn't back the horses out, which happened quite often, adding another 5 or 10 minutes before they were off. I'm sure this was to get more wagers in.
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Old 06-13-2002, 01:46 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by GameTheory
They could close the pools ten minutes before the race, and you'd still have basically the same phenomenon. The pools would close, and then 30 seconds or so later, you'd see your beloved 5-1 shot drop down to 2-1. Argh!

There would still not be anything to be done about it, but I suppose it would end discussion of bets being placed after the race went off.



My thoughts exactly. I don't begrudge the track a few extra seconds of handle, it makes my pools bigger and possibly contributes to the next purse raise that improves the racing product. Besides the bell going off and the sound of the gate cracking open is a nice "your shut out" alarm on the occasions that I am at the track.

The industry is suffering too much from overregulation and fan indifference to wish them any less than they can squeeze out (except for possibly those exorbitant cokes )

Bill
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Old 06-13-2002, 02:34 AM   #9
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I'm really not all that worried about money coming in that late since I don't think its "smart" on the average anyway. I'd like to see a study on how the time at which a bet is placed would affect the value of an overlay. Even something as simple as just looking at the top speed horse would provide a good basis for comparison. My guess is that betting early, say at 10 minutes to post and betting late, at maybe 1 minute to post would both be good and betting at 3-6 minutes would be bad because that's when the well-informed money comes in. I think good handicappers frequently get off of a horse because the odds go down a bit in that time period and it's usually a mistake. You've got to separate the dumb money from the smart money and try to calculate your overlays against the dumb money only. Smart money will take care of itself because it will just result in making the horse more likely to win. I think someone with the proper data could set up better guidlines than what I previously mentioned though, because what I know about it is pretty sketchy and largely subjective.
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Old 06-13-2002, 10:45 AM   #10
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Several years ago (before you all had your computer programs)
a newspaper in San Diego, Calif. did a study.
They found that a very large percentage of pick 6 tickets that WON were purchased at the track they studied-Del Mar.
That's to say, when Del Mar was running LIVE- most of the WINNING tickets were purchased at Del Mar, not the simulcast facilities.
I wonder what those stats would come up with now?
It could easily be checked out, by the mutual departments.
One mutual guy in the computer room told me that the majority of winning tickets in all the pools are purchased at the live track.
I have no idea if this is true or not, if it is true...............
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Old 06-13-2002, 12:19 PM   #11
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so.cal.fan

I can't say about all P6 winners, but when there have been really big payoffs that made the newspapers (and, here I'm thinking the past 4 or 5 years) roughly half of those were not purchased at the host track.

I'll see if our buddy, Mike, can get some more definitive info. I know the CHRB looks at those stats from time to time. (A couple months ago, in the minutes from their monthly meeting, they were inquiring about the bet-size of P6 winning tickets. Apparently in response to complaints that the P6 and big carryover winners were dominated by "big" bettors.)
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Old 06-14-2002, 12:30 PM   #12
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so.cal.fan-
I got this from Mike. I've edited out the name of a CHRB member because I don't want any trouble over using it in a post from a personal email.

Richard:

The problem is that most of these tickets are purchased off-site and half of those are purchased out of state. The overall handle nowadays averages 20-30 percent at the host track, 30-40 percent in-state simulcast outlets and 30-40 percent out of state. This varies from track to track, breed to breed, of course, but those are the averages. The Pick 6 tickets are just as scattered, and that's one of the problems with reporting the details. Our
pari-mutuel auditors cannot easily obtain the details on winning tickets, on tickets purchased out of state. This frustrates xxxxxx, and I imagine he will keep pushing for this info. If he succeeds, you will have what you want. But for now, we don't obtain the Pick 6 details.
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Old 06-14-2002, 12:52 PM   #13
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Thanks for the info, RB
I would be curious to see if there was a significant difference in ALL tickets cashed, on track or off.
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Old 06-16-2002, 06:32 AM   #14
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A couple of thoughts.
Why does a stuard push a button? It would seem to me that the gates should be tied in to ths system. The starter open the gates and the betting is stopped with the same button.

IMO the 60 second cycle is a very long time in modern computer networks, I would think that this could be greatly reduced. Lower cycle time less bets in the pipeline, smaller impact on off odds.
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Old 06-16-2002, 11:23 AM   #15
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Mike,

My guess is that they're probably using pretty old technology. Probably old DEC VAX systems I'd guess. Anyone know for sure?
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