Control Data Australia Memories compiled by Brian Membrey

On- Course : Cometh the New Generation

What Joe Punter Saw - On-Course (with thanks to Chris Robertson, added May, 2018)

These are samples of on-course (Sydney) tickets from the mid to late 1970s - during this period, there were two companies operating on Sydney courses - Universal Totalisators, which ran the “exotics” involving multiple selections (quinellas, doubles, etc) and ATL (Automatic Totalisators Ltd) offering standard win and place. Both operations on Sydney thoroughbred racecourses were taken over and replaced by Amalgamated Wireless Australia Ltd (AWA) in 1977. Before the total takeover there was a trial period of several months when AWA ran the interstate betting, while ATL and Universal Totalisators continued to operate on the local Sydney meeting.

The samples are a classic example of the hugely improved facilities offered on-course after the introduction of the first computerised system, offering flexibility that had been available to off-course punters for some years.

The Universal Totalisators doubles system was first proposed late in 1947, but did not operate until August, 1950 due due mostly to building permits being delayed due to a chronic shortage of building materials following the Second World War.  The company originated in American, but the totalizator itself was an Australian invention Of Roy Ernest Wells of Sydney - coincidentally, it was the second company bearing the name, an earlier entity breaking new ground in tote history with first installation of machine-based betting on 17 French racecourses at a time when Parimutuel betting in France had an annual turnover estimated at £47 million.

See A Doubles Totalisator

Universal Totalisators



Universal Totalisators “Exotics”

A.W.A. : Post-implementation, April, 1977


These are samples from the A.W.A. operation introduced some two years later, thought to be 25 April, 1977 at the Anzac Day meeting at Randwick, where the Universal and ATL systems continued to operate on the local races and the new AWA totalizator operated on interstate meetings as a trial prior to full implementation.

The improvement in technology is immediately apparent - the top example reveals the bet type “D/DBL”, meeting (MELB) and wager value ($1) were all variables, although it appears that the different racing clubs (on left, the Australian Jockey Club) had their own ticket designs.   The technology now allowed the two horses in the double to be identified by name - in actual fact, both prominent gallopers of their day!

The lower example extends the flexibility further, the “each way” now available with different amounts possible for the Win and Place wagers and after the AWA system was fully implemented, Joe Punter could place any bet at any window, and perchance Lady Luck beamed upon him, he could also collect from any window!

Perhaps one thing that is not immediately apparent is whether the new system allowed Joe to bet ahead on other than the next race and whether quinellas were now available on all races, the STC sample shows race 7 and probably indicates that in fact they were as a seven-event program would have been a little unusual.

The later example (right) from the Sydney Turf Club shows a Quinella ticket and reveals one small restriction - the horse’s name limited to 13 letters (KGDM” = “KINGDOM”). Since time almost immemorial, horse names as an international standard have been restricted to 18 characters, the limited believed imposed by a very early punched card layout!.  

Chris Robertson who supplied the tickets suggest that his experience on-course at Randwick that day in 1977 may have been unique - he managed to invest on races and doubles in three different states and issued by three different totalizator companies!