SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, 1997 JUN 4 (NB) -- By John Boy, Computer Daily News. Today, the local Totalisator Agency Board (TAB) agency. Tomorrow the world. That's the ambition of the New South Wales (NSW) TAB, government-owned but heading for privatization, which wants to open up for punters to bet 24-hours-a-day on the Internet.
State Treasurer Michael Egan, who pushed the button to launch the new iBet Internet service yesterday, said: "We will not rely only on people within NSW to bet on the TAB; we will have a market that's Australia-wide and almost worldwide. It will be a great asset in the forthcoming privatization. It will boost value to the organization and what taxpayers will get from it."
The iBet Web site is claimed to be the first Internet totalizator (pari-mutuel) in the world and the first commercial application of digital certificate technology issued over the Internet. It will also be one of the first large-scale Java applications in Australia.
The digital certificate technology has been developed by IBM [NASDAQ:IBM] and certificates will be issued by Australian telecommunications carrier Telstra. According to a Sydney Morning Herald report, they will work only with Java enabled versions of the Netscape Navigator Web browser.
TAB officials said the service would be tested by several hundred users over the next 12 weeks, but will be offered to all of the TAB's approximate 100,000 account-holders before the Melbourne Cup, Australia's richest horse race, in November.
Punters using the new service can place bets directly on the TAB central computer for races across Australia. They can also find out the latest track conditions, details of race entrants and results, all from their PC.
The iBet site will have a TAB Ticker claimed to bring "the look and feel of the stockmarket" to the desktop." The ticker flashes up-to-the-minute information on scratchings, jockey changes, weather and track conditions, and hot performers.
Punters also gain access to results and dividends on all races, including archived results back to 1995; audio replays of the final stages of races, a database of the last four le Paradists of each runner in every race. And full listings of all runners in the day's racing.
However they must first set up an account with the TAB, must guarantee they are not under 18 years of age; and must keep their accounts in credit. The NSW TAB betting site can be found at