Carbine – it's a sure thing

CSIRO Problem In Computer Network

The Age, 3 November, 1971

Psst ... want a hot tip for the Cup? A sure winner?  Connections say there'be a $2.5 million betting plunge on it today!

So put all you've got on Carbine. No, not the champion who won the 1890 Melbourne Cup with a crushing 10.5.

This Carbine is Computer Automated Real-time Betting Information Network – the TAB's computer system which collates and calculates the State's total off-course pool.

CARBINE is at TAB's headquarters in Queens Road, Melbourne.  The system is like something out of James Bond. The telephone betting receiving auditorium could easily be “Spectra” headquarters.

CARBINE is the world's first computerized off-course betting system.

Input devices at all metropolitan agencies transmit each race's bets directly into a central (two CDC 3300 computers).

There are 20,000 betting accounts with the T.A.B.  Bets are phoned in and then transmitted straight into the computer.

Account details (on drum storage) are interrogated and updated by the computer. If the bet is valid, the balance of the account is printed out.

If rejected, the reason for this (usually insufficient credit) is also printed out for the telephone operator.

All betting information is held on computer drum storage. before the start of a race, CARBINE automatically calculates total figures for each type of bet on each horse in the race.

When the result of the race is known, details of the place getters and dividends are entered into the system.  CARBINE then sends each agency summary details of amounts invested and dividends payable.

And why is CARBINE a sure thing? Because most of the system is duplicated should computer problems arise.

What are the T.A.B.'s plans?

First there is RIMFIRE (named after the 1948 Cup winner).

Control Data is manufacturing the 1000 terminals which will make up the RIMFIRE system.  These machines will actually produce printed tickets at the agency counter.