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Thursday, October 17, 2013

ATG Gives Robot Betting the Boot

With all the conversation about certain American tracks allowing groups who use robots (computer programs) to wager into their pools, this article from harnesslink.com drew my attention.  According to the article, ATG, the Swedish agency which handles wagers had recently passed rules banning the use of robots when it comes to wagering.  As a result of these new rules and despite warnings, American companies, European Wagering Services and Las Vegas Dissemination Services have had their licenses suspended until further notice due to their allowing groups using robots to wager. 

Robot-wagering, another name for computerized wagering, use programs which originally were used to trade stocks to ensure a profit as they would trade very fast and take advantage of market inefficiencies.  Whereas American tracks welcome this type of wagering in order to increase handle (and prime the pump), ATG feels while not illegal, robot-wagering over the long term  puts regular handicappers at a serious disadvantage which threatens racing in the long term.

So the question is, is robot wagering harmful to the average player?  Over the long hall yes.  However it seems to be something American Capitalism embraces.  When you consider 60% of all trading in stocks is done by computer programs, retail traders (you and me) have little control over the movement of stock prices making investing in reality gambling.  With racing, it makes it harder to make money because there programs are able to cover more combinations in multi-leg races as well as respond to odds changes in making regular wagers.

To be fair, racetracks allow robot-wagering due to the declining handle many tracks have.  If handles were like they were years ago, tracks would not have a need to permit this type of gambling.  However, before you get too harsh with tracks which allow robot wagering, would you rather wagering into big pools or pools of a few hundred dollars?

I am not going to say robot gambling is good or bad; each better needs to make their own decision.  I do believe racetracks need to disclose to their gamblers whether or not these computer programs are permitted to wager into a racetrack's pool so the horseplayer can make an informed decision..