YEAR: 1983


Addington Raceway patrons took to trifectas like ducks to water when computerised betting came to the South Island last Saturday (9 July 1983). When betting figures for the day were tallied it was found that trifecta betting amounted to nearly one third of the total on-course turnover of $328,045.

The introduction of the pay-sell system to the South Island went off smoothly enough last Saturday - there was only one equipment malfunction - but the lack of problems was in no small part due to the small turnout of paying customers. Only 3800 turned out on a bleak, grey day and many of those departed the course when the rain set in after the seventh race.

The majority of punters adapted to the new system relatively quickly, and it was only early in the day, as punters and totalisator operators alike familiarised themselves with the new equipment, that delays occurred at the windows. Those punters unsure of the correct procedures could call on assistance from 20 hostesses spread around the course, who were quick to set them on the right course. Marilyn Hooper, who has been leading the hostess teams at the four courses coverted to the pay-sell system so far - Auckland, Tauranga, Rotorua and now Addington - described the change over as "terrific". "Christchurch set a national record - 40% of all bets placed were as a result of people using the betting slips," Marilyn said. "This figure hasn't been approached at any other courses where the system is in use."

The betting slip enables the punters to mark their bets which are then fed directly into the totalisator equipment, rather than the patron having to call his or her bets to the operator. Not only does it lead to speedier operation (provided the form is filled in correctly), but it also gives the patron a degree of privacy.

Problems and delays did occur early in the day when punters failed to follow the correct procedure when placing their bets verbally, failing to call the bets in the correct sequence. However, as totalisator operators became more proficient as the day progressed, this problem soon receded. "The operators did better than I thought they would, and by the end of the day most of them were pretty confident with their machines," Marilyn said. "One or two of the operators were a bit slow, and some of the punters were also slow. However, I feel the promotion during the week helped everyone familiarise themselves with the system," she said, referring to the 'dummy run' held at Addington last Wednesday night. There operators had a chance to practice for the real thing as invited guests bet on video replays with 'funny' money.

There was only one machinery malfunction during the day when the pay-sell equipmentwent out of action for 20 minutes after the fifth race. Initially, the club decided to put back the entire programme 20 minutes, but soon after announced that the sixth race start would be delayed only 10 minutes. The start of race seven was delayed only five minutes, and by race eight the programme was back on schedule.

The largest trifecta during the day paid $2019.35, one of four that returned successful punters a four figure dividend. The smallest trifecta paid $53.75.

Credit: Tony Williams writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 12Jul83

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