Portable Betting System is Winning Ticket

Posted September 3, 2009

Autotote, the nation’s leading supplier of pari-mutuel wagering systems to horse track, dog track, and off-track betting parlors, wanted to find a way to bring the betting window to its customers.

A “walkabout” system was developed as an add-on to the existing teller network. Information sent from a handheld is read by the Tote network and sent back to the handheld.

Zebra Technologies’ weatherproof mobile receipt printer and Symbol’s PPT4140 pen-based radio frequency computer with the Spectrum24 radio network.

Placing a bet just got a lot faster at racetracks around the country. That’s because Autotote, the nation’s leading supplier of pari-mutuel wagering systems to horse tracks, dog tracks, and off-track betting (OTB) parlors, has supplemented its existing teller window network system with a “walkabout” betting solution. And the results are in! The Autotote system has helped racetracks and OTB establishments improve their service to patrons, which has led to increased revenues for the company.

Autotote’s wagering system is in use at more than 75% of betting facilities worldwide. To implement the portable wagering system, the company turned to Open Road Technologies, a systems integrator/software developer that creates bar code and data collection solutions. As part of its strategy, Open Road worked with Zebra Technologies and Symbol Technologies to build a customized solution. The system consists of Zebra’s “weatherproof” Cameo mobile receipt printer and Symbol’s PPT4140 pen-based radio frequency computer, along with the Spectrum24 radio network. Open Road wrote a custom application for the handheld terminal to emulate a regular fixed-wire terminal while working online with the existing Tote network.

According to Chuck Dunham,”The RF network provides an open-systems bridge into Autotote’s proprietary wired backbone.” Since the “walkabout” system is an add-on to the existing teller network, information is sent from the handheld to the Tote network, which reads the data and relays information back. Radio frequency data communication allows the patron to easily and quickly place bets from anywhere within the facility. One advantage is that the unit is wearable: an Autotote associate can clip the receipt printer to a belt and then walk around the grounds taking bets from patrons. The associate uses the pen computer to enter bets, and the printer to furnish receipts. A bar code printed on each bet receipt can be scanned by the portable computer. The result? Patrons can place a bet, check on ticket status, and even cash in without ever visiting a betting window.

“Portable receipt printers like the Cameo are the ideal solution for walkabout betting applications. They’re lightweight, durable, easy to operate, and print receipts exactly like those obtained at the betting window,” explains Ray England of Zebra Technologies. Open Road’s portable betting systems can be found in horse, dog, and jai alai betting markets nationwide. Recent software upgrades have helped speed up the betting process and offer extra functionality such as multiple bets per ticket. The next step is walkabout betting at the nation’s casinos.

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