Gaming Strategy
Featured Stories
Legal News Financial News Casino Opening and Remodeling News Gaming Industry Executives Author Home Author Archives Search Articles Subscribe
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Recent Articles
Kevin Smith

The Pick 6 Scandal - One Year Later

31 October 2003

A year after the biggest betting scandal to hit the horseracing industry, more than $2 million has been invested in upgrading security measures in OTB and tote systems, and experts agree the industry is heading in the right direction.

An Autotote employee and two co-conspirators electronically altered a Pick 6 ticket after the running of four 2002 Breeders' Cup races and ended up with all six winning tickets. Chris Harn, Derrick Davis and Glen DaSilva wound up in prison after their scheme was uncovered.

The scandal led to a lengthy investigation, an overview of the industry and, ultimately, the overhaul of methodologies and security systems for off-track betting in the United States.

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) created a technology working group to study the case. The group worked in conjunction with Giuliani Partners, a consulting firm headed by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

The improvements the industry made over the year were evident Saturday during the running of the 2003 Breeders' Cup.

Unlike last year, Pick 6 tickets were transmitted after every race when they still had a chance of winning. Previously, to conserve bandwidth, only "live" Pick 6 tickets after race four were transmitted. The delay enabled Harn to manipulate the early picks; he then put money on the entire field for the final two races, ensuring a Pick 6 winner.

This year a pair of jewelers in South Dakota combined their love of horseracing with their knowledge of the field and were able to turn the $80 they bet at the Time Out Lounge in Rapid City into $2.6 million in winnings.

Betting action for the Breeder's Cup increased this year; only once in the event's 20 years has handle not surpassed the pervious year's totals.

In 2003 punters wagered $120.8 million on the event, which was held at one of America's most storied tracks, Santa Anita. The handle was a record for the event, surpassing the previous record for a Breeders' Cup card, which was set last year at Arlington Park, when all-sources handle was $115.5 million on an 11-race card.

The overall total is expected to increase when foreign totals are added next week. Much of the foreign betting on the Breeders' Cup in parts of South America, Central America, the Caribbean, Europe and Africa is conducted in separate pools.

Handle for on-track betting was $17,171,465, a record for the Breeders' Cup (surpassing $15,410,409 handled in 1986 at Santa Anita in 1986). Wagering for the Breeders' Cup Pick 6, which had a guaranteed pool of $3 million, was $4,489,454, a decline of 1.8 percent compared to last year. Handle on the Pick Six has declined for five straight years.

Unlike last year, officials with the NTRA knew this year's winning Pick 6 ticket was legitimate before the final race was run.

"It was a paper ticket purchased at an OTB," the NTRA's Ken Kirchner explained. "There was a paper trail and it was purchased from a live teller."

The wagering technology working group recommended several security measures in a report issued this summer in conjunction with Giuliani Partners.

One such measure is the placing of audio recording systems on all wagers placed over the phone, something that wasn't in place at the OTB Harn used. The report also recommended various software and bandwidth upgrades. Improved software is aimed at scanning all relevant wagering outlets, thus enabling security to detect any change in wagering sections after a race is run.

Wagering outlets and suppliers spent nearly $2.5 million in upgrading the system.

The report stressed, however, that the industry should never feel like there are enough security measures in place.

"The process of security development is just that: a process," the working group stated. "The industry must continue to develop strategies and programs that will enable it to identify and rebuff other attempts at wagering fraud."

Click here to view the technology working group's report.

The Pick 6 Scandal - One Year Later is republished from
Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith