Autotote State Lottery System
Autotote, a major supplier of wagering systems to the racing community and to jai alai frontons, decided to expand into the rapid growth business of state lotteries. To meet the needs of this new application, Autotote chose to modify its Tandem-based totalizator system, originally designed and built by The Sombers Group.
The Sombers Group had designed the original totalizator system to be highly modular and functionally expandable. Thus, when Sombers was asked to make the necessary modifications, the conversion process was straightforward. The basic structure of the wagering system was left intact. Intelligent microprocessor-based ticket issuing machines (TIMs), also implemented by The Sombers Group, interacted with the Tandem host to issue machine readable lottery tickets. A winning ticket could be submitted to any TIM, could be read and validated by that TIM, and the prize then calculated and paid. Gaming selections could be made by keyboard or by reading a mark-sense coupon prepared by the customer.
The software architecture of the host permitted the straightforward addition of the full range of lottery games, with advance betting and a calendar of drawings. This was particularly important since state lottery commissions varied the games periodically to maintain the publicís interest.
A predominant feature of the new lottery system was an extensive communication network designed to support 6000 TIMs dispersed geographically around a state. Highly reliable communication protocols, sophisticated network management techniques, and exhaustive fault detection, location, and isolation capabilities were necessary in order to ensure the integrity of the lottery system.
The communication network was just one element of a system that had to achieve a high degree of fault tolerance and data integrity. The multiprocessor Tandem host was another major element, as was a full range of audit reports satisfying state requirements. The Tandem host and its mirrored files, programmed to be fully fault tolerant by The Sombers Group, guaranteed that any single fault (and many cases of multiple faults) at the host would be transparent to the users.