This is one of several pages relating to the history of the automatic totalizator, its invention in 1913, the inventor George Julius and the Australian company he founded in 1917, Automatic Totalisators Limited, which became a monopoly (later part of an oligopoly) in this field. Automatic Totalisators Limited was later renamed ATL Limited. An extract from the Automatic Totalisators Limited 1977 Report to Employees, in this page explains the name change. This page contains pool definitions extracted from the 1989 ATL diary. This is a history only non commercial page. If you wish to start from the beginning then go to the index.

Copyright © 2000 Email -

Totalizator Wager Type Explanation

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Pool definitions from the 1989 ATL diary


Nick D'Angelo, a long serving system manager at ATL, asked me in the year 2000, two takeovers since ATL, if I could include the pool definitions from the ATL diary on the internet. He had been asked a question about a pool and remembered that this was always a useful reference.

I have intended to present this extract on the internet for some time, Nick's request has prompted me to action! Regarding this diary, staff members at ATL and selected customers received a copy each year. Each senior staff member would have their name printed on the front of the diary along with the company logo making a personalised copy. This was clever psychology on the company's behalf as this small gesture strengthened ones sense of belonging and commitment in a time when alternative employment was plentiful.

Note that all these definitions were made in 1989 and details may be outdated.

win pool

The win pool is used internationally and pay out is only on the winning horse.

place pool

The place pool in Australia, New Zealand, and South East Asia, is a pool which pays out on the first 3 horses in fields of 8 or more starters and two horses for fields of 5, 6 or 7 starters. In South Africa dividends are paid when the field is 14 or greater but in other respects it is the same as described above. In North America the place pool is fixed at two dividends for all fields of 5 or more. In Hong Kong, dividends are paid to the first 3 horses in field of 7 or more starters and 2 horses in fields of 4,5 or 6 starters.

special place pools

In Thailand where win and place are the usual betting pools, special place pools are operated for fields of less than 8 starters instead of the normal place pool. A forecast pool is operated with 3, 4 and 5 starters and a compound show pool with 6 or 7 starters. For Forecast an investor must select the first two places in correct order and for compound show the investor must select any two of the first 3 places in any order.

Note that all these definitions were made in 1989 and details may be outdated.

place accumulator pool

The place accumulator is operated in South Africa. It is conducted on 6 or 7 races and the investor must select a placed horse in each of the nominated races. The rules for a placed horse are the same as the place pools regulations with the exception that when there are less than 5 starters, only the winner ranks for a place.

big quiniela pool

The big quiniela pool is conducted on two selected races in North America. The investor has to select the winning Quiniela combinations for both races.

big exacta pool

The big exacta pool is conducted on two selected races in North America. The investor has to select the winning Exacta combination for both races.

combinada pool

The combinada pool in Buenos Aires operates like the quinella pool in races with a maximum field of 7 starters.

Note that all these definitions were made in 1989 and details may be outdated.

combine pool

The combine pool operated in North America combines a win, place and show bet on the one ticket. If the horse comes in first, second or third the appropriate dividends are paid.

correcta pool

The correcta pool in North America operates like the forecast pool.

descarte pool

The descarte pool is used in South America only and is similar to a win pool after the favourite, as decided by public opinion or as elected by the Stewards, is scratched from this pool for the purpose of betting only. The winner in a descarte pool is the first horse past the post, other than the favourite.

Note that all these definitions were made in 1989 and details may be outdated.

double pool

The double pool is conducted on two races, the investor having to select the winner of both. In some cases, it is necessary to nominate the two horses when investing but in certain countries, such as New Zealand, a reinvestment double pool is operated where a ticket is purchased on the first leg of the double and, if successful, the ticket is exchanged for a ticket on any horse in the second leg. In Hong Kong, besides a dividend is paid to investors who have selected the winner of both races, there is also a consolation dividend paid to first leg coupled with the second horse on the second leg.

dupla pool

The dupla pool in Brazil is a combination of the quinella and forecast pools with the field bracketed down to 5 groups. Each of these groups combined with itself and the other four groups gives a total of 15 combinations on which to bet. In South Africa this pool operates like the quinella pool.

exacta pool

The exacta pool in North America operates like the forecast pool.

forecast pool

The forecast pool in Malaysia operates like the quinella pool for large fields. In Australia or where the fields are small, this pool is like a correct order quinella pool where the two starters selected must come first and second for a payout.

Note that all these definitions were made in 1989 and details may be outdated.

5's and 6's pool

The 5's and 6's pool in South America operates like the jackpot pool.

jackpot pool

The jackpot pool is operated in South Africa, England, India and in New Zealand and is conducted on one race meeting. An investor is required to select the winner of a certain number of nominated races. The number of winners varies between countries but generally it is between 4 and 6 winners.

jumele pool

The jumele pool in France operates like the quinella pool.

koppel pool

The koppel pool in Holland operates like the quinella pool and is as per the forecast pool for small fields.

llave pool

The llave pool is used for betting on Jai-Alai in the Philippines. Llave is similar to the forecast pool. In addition to the normal dividend on the first two places, payout is also on the first and third places.

Note that all these definitions were made in 1989 and details may be outdated.

mutuel pool

The mutuel pool in Venezuela is a forecast pool with the field bracketed down to 6 groups giving 30 combinations to bet on in each race. The bracketing is carried out in a manner similar to that of the dupla pool.

perfecta pool

The perfecta pool in North America operates like the forecast pool.

quadrella pool

The quadrella pool is operated in Australia and is conducted on four selected races. The horses in the field are bracketed down in a set pattern to a group of nine. The investor has to select the winner of each race in the four groups. This pool is not operated on a re-investment basis, the selections being made at the one time.

quartet pool

The quartet pool in Hong Kong is conducted on one nominated race. The investor is required to select 4 starters in the correct order in which they will pass the post.

Note that all these definitions were made in 1989 and details may be outdated.

quinella pool

The quinella pool normally operates on any number of starters and bets are lodged on combinations on any two horses in one race. The winning tickets are those which show the numbers of the first two horses past the winning post in either order. This pool is operated in many countries under different names.

quiniela pool

The quiniela pool in North America is identical to the quinella pool.

double quinella pool

The double quinella pool in Hong Kong is conducted on two nominated races. The investor has to select the first and second horses in either order in the two nominated races.

double trio pool

In Hong Kong is conducted on two nominated races. The investor has to select the first three horses in any order in the two nominated races.

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six up pool

The six up pool operated in Hong Kong is conducted on six nominated races. The investor has to select the first or second horse in each of the nominated races. However, if a race has 3 or less starters, the investor is then required to select the winner for that race. An additional amount, called six up bonus, is paid to an investor who has selected the winners in each of the six nominated races.

Note that all these definitions were made in 1989 and details may be outdated.

show pool

The show pool in North America is the same as the Australian place pool and is normally a three dividend pool. A show pool does not operate on fields under 5 starters in North America.

superfecta pool

The superfecta pool is conducted on one selected race in North America. An investor has to select the exact order of finish of the first, second, third or fourth horses.

swinger pool

The swinger pool is a variation of the quinella pool where the investor must select two runners to finish in the first three place positions. Three combinations in this pool qualify for dividends each race.

tierce pool

The tierce pool operated on French and Hong Kong racetracks is conducted on one race. The investor is required to select 3 starters in the correct order in which they will pass the post. There is a great number of combinations in this pool and dividends are high particularly when the fields are large. In France, to avoid this large amount of money going to a few investors, consolation dividends are declared. These usually apply to investors who have the tickets with the first three horses printed thereon but not in the right order past the post.

Note that all these definitions were made in 1989 and details may be outdated.

treble pool

The treble pool is conducted on three nominated or any three selected races and payment is made for the selection of the winner of each race.

triella pool

The triella pool is operated on three selected races. The investor must select the winning quinella combinations of the three races.

trifecta pool

The trifecta pool operates in Australia and North America. The investor is required to select three placegetters in one race in the correct finishing order.

trio pool

The trio pool operates in Australia and Holland. The investor is required to select the three placegetters in one race in any order.

twin pool

The twin pool in Lebanon operates like the quinella pool.

Note that all these definitions were made in 1989 and details may be outdated.

Company Name Change

As I have mentioned the company name change from Automatic Totlisators Limited to ATL Limited at the top of this page, I have included the following, which is an extract from the Automatic Totalisators Limited 1977 Report to Employees regarding the name change.


The Company celebrated its 60th birthday on 17th April, 1977. Since incorporation, the present name of the Company has served the Company well, has become well known in totalisator betting circles world wide, and has become synonymous with excellence and high standing in the industry. ATL equipment is installed on over 200 racetracks in 35 countries throughout the world. Recent years, however, have witnessed the branching out of group activities into other commercial areas not associated with the older, traditional markets, and it is the policy of the Board to continue to broaden the activities of the Group in this manner. As these new areas are examined, it has become obvious that the word 'totalisators' in the name of the company is not always appropriate in a promotional sense, and the Directors believe that this inappropriateness will become more apparent as time passes. It has therefore been approved by the shareholders that the name of the parent company be changed so as to allow the establishment of an identity which can be applied to all facets of group undertakings, yet at the same time preserve the identity of the Company which has been so successfully developed over the past 60 years.

In this regard, the initials ATL have become firmly established and well known within the totalisator and other industries, and therefore it was felt that the new name should be based on these initials. The Directors have therefore chosen the new name of the company 'ATL Limited'.

The position of the Group within its established totalisator markets will not be diminished by the change in name; in fact continuing development of new products will further enhance the Group's standing as a major and leading supplier to both on-course and off-course totalisator markets.

Chairman's Address (Australian manufacturing concern)

As I have already provided an extract from the Automatic Totalisators Limited 1977 Report to Employees above, I have also included the following, which is The Chairman's address. I find it rather prophetic, as it mentions the problem of high local manufacturing costs making it difficult for private enterprises in Australia to trade profitably. Although it is optimistic about the Government's policy to control inflation, in retrospect, I believe these high costs were a major factor in the demise of two once great Australian technology manufacturing companies, that I worked for, this being one of them .

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Directors' Report which accompanied the Annual Accounts has provided you with a good deal of information on the Group's activities and successes during the year. I am sure you share the Board's pleasure at the financial results achieved, and at the promising outlook for continued profitable growth.

Of particular importance is the fact that our North American Division has contributed very substantially to total Group earnings during the past two financial years and these operations are also mainly responsible for the growth in Group net profit, over that period, of 142%. Your Directors have always been convinced that the North American market for Group products and services offered tremendous potential for profitable business, given adequate financial support and good management.

The parent company has until very recently reinvested all after-tax earnings to assist in funding the growth which has occurred, and the North American Division has been able to make its own borrowing arrangements with United States banks to provide the additional financing required.

These resources have been most capably utilised by North American management, and I am sure that you will join with me in offering our congratulations to Mr. Martin Zwerin, Chief Executive of the North American Division, on the excellent results obtained. The Directors have asked him to convey our thanks to his senior managers and other staff for their good work on behalf of the company.

It will be apparent that we are no longer simply a totalisator company. Whilst the totalisator industry will continue to be our principal area of business operations, it will be seen that much has already been achieved in diversifying into activities which, whilst not connected with totalisators, are compatible with our technological expertise and which offer opportunities for profitable expansion.

During the year under review we have had to increase space to accommodate our workforce which, as you will see from the Highlights Statement in the Annual Report, has increased substantially. This value of Group Contracts in hand as at this date is in the vicinity of Aust$ 15 million.

Our competitiveness against overseas suppliers, particularly in export markets, is dependent upon the level of local manufacturing costs. Whilst the outlook appears to be much brighter than it has been for some years, I again emphasise that costs within Australia are very high and that further increases will weaken the ability of private enterprises like this company to trade profitably and to maintain or improve employment levels.

However, it is worth noting that in spite of these disadvantages, your company is successfully and profitably marketing Australian manufactured equipment overseas. We too often hear of the depressing future facing the manufacturing segment of our economy. We believe however that with the right management and technically innovative products, Australian manufacturers can successfully compete in the world market place.

The outlook for the balance of the current financial year is one of a good deal of activity in fulfilling contracts already on hand. If the Federal Government is given the opportunity to persist with its policy of putting control of inflation first in all it does, a policy which is vital to this company's future development, and a policy which has already borne fruit as the rate of inflation has noticeably fallen, then it is anticipated that profit for the June 1978 year will at least be equal to that of the year just ended.

In conclusion, I wish to again thank all of the employees of the company and its subsidiaries for the contribution each has made to the prosperity and growth of the Group. There are some who have only just joined this company, and we wish them well and hope they will enjoy being with us.

J.G. Riddle,

Review of the Years Activities

As we have come this far with extracts from the Automatic Totalisators Limited 1977 Report to Employees, I have also included the following Review of the Years Activities for the Australasian Division. The section titled NORTH AMERICAN DIVISION is presented in the Automatic Totalisators in America chapter of this website which can be viewed by selecting the Go to the index option in the Nav Bar at the bottom of this page and then selecting the Automatic Totalisators in America chapter and scrolling down to the heading NORTH AMERICAN DIVISION


The Australasian Division made satisfactory progress in consolidating its position in the totalisator market and penetrating new markets in parking, automatic fare collection and the printing and graphics industry. Development work is well advanced on the computer system for The Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club's new racetrack in Sha Tin. Most of the equipment will be shipped in December for final installation by March next year. This contract has occupied a great deal of our resources, but we have already seen the benefits in several new contracts that have been awarded to us by virtue of the advanced technology that is included in the Sha Tin equipment.

The TOTALISATOR DIVISION, which is responsible for sales, engineering and installation of on- and off- course equipment, completed further contracts in South Africa and Malaysia. A complete system was shipped and brought into operation at Guam, and a new system has been shipped to Manila for the Jai Alai fronton. In Australia equipment was installed at three Melbourne provincial racetracks to allow the mobile computer totalisator to be used, and a new display board was installed at the Brisbane Gabba Greyhound track.

Major contracts that have been gained by the Totalisator Division include terminals for the New Zealand TAB, and a mobile pay/sell on-course totalisator system for Brisbane. The former is significant in that it is our first success in providing equipment for T.A.B. use. The outlook is encouraging in this market, and we anticipate that further substantial orders will be achieved.

The combined racing, trotting and greyhound clubs in Brisbane announced they had selected ATL to provide computerised pay/sell facilities at all their tracks, and this contract will include an operating agreement for the next 10 years. The equipment will become operational toward the end of 1978, and will include two mobile vans to house the central computer equipment.

The Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club has placed further orders for terminals and additions to the basic Sha Tin system, and equipment orders have been received from Baghdad and Malaysia, amongst others.

Development work has continued, and recent product releases include the J24 mark sense terminal which reads a customer-marked card. This can be used for on- and off-track betting, lottery, and other applications, and the technology is applicable to a variety of markets. A small computer totalisator known as the Microtote, has also been released for use on small country and provincial tracks.

The MANUFACTURING DIVISION, which comprises Main Plant, Toolroom, and Page Manufacturing Co., is also very busy. The Main Plant has a healthy order book for ticket issuing machines for shipment to the U.S. as well as the Australasian region. New automatic equipment has been installed to increase productivity and this programme will continue. Labour relations have been harmonious and employment levels have been increased considerably. A new Special Products section was formed within the Main Plant to handle a variety of small batch items including special hospital electronic equipment, coin mechanisms for copying machines, etc.

Our precision Toolroom has made good progress since the last report. Some reorganisation has taken place to reduce overhead costs, and order intake has increased. This section has been the main beneficiary of a manufacturing contract awarded to us by Brookeades Pty. Ltd. for the manufacture of a quantity of Microfiche cameras. These Australian- designed cameras will be marketed worldwide by Brookeades, and ATL will provide field service support both in Australia and the U.S.A.

Page Manufacturing Co. also operated satisfactorily during the year, but raw material cost increases caused decreasing margins. Some plant improvement is planned, to increase flexibility, and we were successful in obtaining interstate number plate business against tough competition.

The OPERATIONS DIVISION also had a satisfactory year. This division operates on-course totalisators under contract to racing clubs in Australia and New Zealand, and despite continuing cost pressures and on-course turnovers that were barely above the previous year, profitability was improved. Of significant benefit was the introduction of Trifecta betting in N.S.W., and the utilisation of the Melbourne mobile equipment at Victorian provincial tracks. The Sydney and Perth branches have been reorganised in view of the reducing commitments in these locations, and some service personnel have been reassigned to support our diversified product lines. The Operations Devision will benefit from the contract that the Brisbane clubs awarded us, and they are actively continuing their re-equipment programme to provide better service to their clients.

The MARKETING DIVISION, which is responsible for most of our diversified activities in the S.E. Asian area, has had good success in its initial year of operation. We were awarded a contract by the National Capital Development Commission for Parcotax equipment in the first stage of a series of parking stations in Canberra. Our parking equipment product line has also been broadened by an agreement with a Swedish company, AB Ticfak, to market their products in this region.

The Gladstone nurse call and hospital communications equipment was extended by some new products, and this group also market an opthalmological diagnostic system manufactured by Interzeag AG, which has created considerable interest.

Two ATL-Datatronics VDUs right hand side Image showing two ATL-Datatronics VDUs

Webmaster's Note: I recall Datatronics and their Visual Display terminals, mentioned below and shown in the above image in the corner on the right hand side and elevated for a good reading position when seated. I visited the Datatronics factory in Melbourne when I worked for ATL. From memory it was on Whitehorse Rd. possibly Box Hill. My department maintained Datatronics VDUs which were part of the PDP11 based Brisbane totalisator systems which commenced operation in 1979. They were a novel design with a radically different aspect ratio, tall and thin rather than short and fat. I used to program on these terminals and remember it being quite useful having more text visible on the screen reducing the need for scrolling. This was prior to the widespread use of structured programming. With the indentation of structured programming, not being able to see the end of lines without scrolling right would have eliminated any saving on scrolling vertically.

Agreement has also been reached with Cubic Western Data, Inc. of San Diego, to market their automatic fare collection systems for bus and rail applications. In conjunction with Cubic Western we tendered and have been awarded a contract for equipment for the Eastern Suburbs Railway in Sydney. This equipment has good potential in the S.E. Asian area, and Cubic are one of the largest suppliers in this field worldwide. ATL Datatronics, which manufactures systems for the printing and graphics arts industry, achieved good penetration in this market during its first year of operation. Operating profitably, it is rapidly growing with the move by the printing industry toward automation. Their product range is being extended to include general purpose visual display terminals, and they are already well established as suppliers to the commercial printing and provincial newspaper market.

Arrangements have been made to establish direct representation in Hong Kong for all of these product lines, and this office will service the near Asian countries. A wholly owned subsidiary - Automatic Totalisators (Hong Kong) Limited - was incorporated in Hong Kong on 16th July, 1976.

Our Australasian organisation has grown considerably during the year and new products have been released to the market. The coming year should see the benefit of these development activities, and the improved economic conditions in most of our markets give us an optimistic outlook.


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