The World’s first automatic totalisator machine (the name for the automated system which runs parimutuel betting) was set up in Ellerslie, Auckland. This kicked off 50 years of development of totalisator machinery.
Sportech has a rich history within the Football and Racing industries in both the UK and the US. It is the unique combination of over 92 and 102 years (respectively) in these industries that makes Sportech an organisation that customers, regulators and sporting bodies are proud to work with. Our history, heritage, trust and responsibility are unrivalled in the industry.
The core of our business divisions is based around pari-mutuel, pool or tote betting and our origins in the UK stretch back to 1923, when the first Pools coupon was handed out and 1913 when the world's first automatic totalisator machine was introduced in Australia. Find out more about our history by clicking here to see our documentary, Sportech and The History of the Football Pools.
Today, Sportech is a sports entertainment company and one of the world’s leading pool betting operators and technology suppliers.
Find out more about key dates in our Sportech PLC history timeline:
Where it all began
1913, NovemberThe World’s first automatic Totalisator machine
1917, NovemberAutomatic Totalisators founded
Automatic Totalisators Ltd. was founded as an Australian PLC. The organisation was set up to manufacture, install and operate Tote machinery throughout the World.
1923, OctoberLittlewoods Pools Company founded
In the winter of 1923, Littlewoods Pools Company was founded with the first Pools coupons being sold to football fans outside Manchester United’s Old Trafford ground.
1925, AugustVernons Pools founded
Vernons Pools was founded
1939, NovemberAiding the WWII effort
During the Second World War, The Football Pools companies were committed to helping the national cause and gave the Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, freedom to use The Football Pools processing warehouses and its staff for important tasks to help towards the war effort, including making parachutes for our soldiers
1966, NovemberWorld’s first electronic computer totalisator
In 1966 the World’s first electronic computer totalisator was produced
1979, NovemberAutomatic Totalisors create North American division
Automatic Totalisors Ltd (as they became known), created a North American division in 1979 due to the North American business contributing 80% group profits. This division became known as The Autotote Corporation.
1979, NovemberSports Haven opened by the State
The Sports Haven building was opened by the State
1986, NovemberFirst Football Pools millionaires
In 1986 the Football Pools reached a fantastic milestone with the very first Football Pools millionaires. Nurse Sister Margaret Francis and ten of her colleagues from Devizes, Wiltshire, became the first Pools millionaires sharing £1,017,890
2007, AugustSportech announces the £51 million acquisition of Vernons
In August 2007 Sportech announces the £51 million acquisition of Vernons Pools from Ladbrokes PLC. Sportech already owned and operated Littlewoods and Zetters Pools and, with the addition of Vernons, linked all three brands together to form 'The Football Pools'. Sportech’s consolidation of the UK market enabled the enlarged Football Pools to offer customers even bigger prizes and even better value for money
2010, JanuarySportech agree joint venture with Playwin
Sportech agreed a joint venture with Playwin, one of the world’s leading lottery providers, to launch a multi-platform sports prediction and fantasy gaming business in India under the brand Sports Hero. Initially Sports Hero offered players free to play sports prediction games, online and on mobile, on sports including cricket, Formula 1, tennis and football. This significantly broadened the range of sports prediction games Sportech could offer customers. With a growing population of 1.2 billion, many of which are fanatical about sports, and with an economy which is expected to grow strongly over the coming years, the potential for a regulated market within India is significant
2010, MarchThe Football Pools celebrates biggest payout
In March 2010, The Football Pools celebrated its biggest ever top prize payout with a massive £4 million paid out in a single weekend of football. Amongst the lucky winners 14 customers shared the top prize of £3 million, each scooping over £214,000. One lucky customer also turned a 71p stake into a £1 million prize which highlights that even 87 years after it was launched, The Football Pools continues to turn small stakes into life changing sums of money
2010, OctoberSportech completes acquisition of Scientific Games Racing
In October 2010, Sportech PLC completed the £51.4 million acquisition of Scientific Games Racing from Scientific Games Corporation, elevating Sportech to the position of one of the world’s leading suppliers and operators of pools betting. With a focus on the world’s two largest betting sports, football and horseracing, the enlarged Sportech Group has representation in over 30 countries, processing over $13 billion of bets every year
2010, OctoberFirst £3m Football Pools winner
In October 2010, Michael Elliott, 56, from Brechin in Scotland, wrote himself into the history books by being the first ever £3 million winner on The Football Pools, scooping himself a massive £3,001, 511.
2013, JunePenn National Gaming contract
In June, Sportech announced its U.S. division, Sportech Racing and Digital, had signed a six year contract with Penn National Gaming Incorporated, the largest owner and operator of racetrack and associated betting facilities (together with numerous casino and slot machine venues) in the United States. Sportech Racing's contract with PNGI provides betting technology and associated services to numerous PNGI-owned and/or operated properties across nine US States and covers up to 11 racetrack properties, five off-track wagering venues and an Internet and telephone account wagering service
2013, SeptemberAcquisition of Data Tote Limited
September 2013 – In September, Sportech announced the acquisition of Data Tote Limited, a leading UK betting operator and technology and services provider focused on the European greyhound and horseracing betting market. Sportech exclusively provides betting services to 41 of the 43 greyhound tracks in the UK and Ireland
2013, DecemberJoint venture with NYX Gaming Group
In December 2013, Sportech announced that it had signed a joint venture with NYX Gaming Group Limited to provide online products and services in the US for social and pay-to-play gaming. As US online gaming regulation evolves, the joint venture will be able to offer a full suite of gaming products including bingo, casino, poker, slots and other games to potential licensees using the NYX platform. These include Sportech's racetrack and casino partners across the US
2013, DecemberAgreement with Southern California Off Track Wagering
In December 2013, Sportech PLC announced that it had signed an agreement with one of the governing bodies for horseracing in California, the Southern California Off Track Wagering, Inc. for a license to allow Sportech to develop and operate up to ten innovative retail venues, offering customers the ability to bet on horseracing in a high-end sports bar and restaurant facility
2014, JuneSportech acquires Bump Worldwide
In June, Sportech acquired Bump Worldwide Inc., a Toronto based gaming service provider serving North American sports teams with team-based electronic lotteries known as “50:50 raffles”. Bump has developed a proprietary, easy to use mobile technology application replacing the traditional paper ticket format. Together with its investment in the Picklive joint venture , this acquisition broadens Sportech beyond horseracing to the North American sports market.
2014, JulyRacing & Digital division wins 10-year Totepool contract
In July, Sportech announced that its Racing & Digital division had been selected by Betfred to provide a comprehensive suite of new betting technology products to its Totepool business (previously known as The UK Tote).The ten year contract is expected to be worth over £9 million in total revenues. Totepool holds the exclusive licence to operate all Tote betting on British horseracing, which is considered by many to be amongst the best horseracing in the world.