Tote operators from five different continents have joined together to form a new trade body.
The World Tote Association (WoTA) has been founded to create better conditions for operators around the world and strengthen equestrian sport.
The 20 founding members include European operators UK Tote Group, Sweden's AB Trav och Galopp, France's Zeturf and Tote Ireland. Hong Kong Jockey Club, Tabcorp, Churchill Downs and South African brand Phumelela have also signed up.
Paul Cross, head of Tabcorp's international division, and Richard Cheung, head of international business development at the Hong Kong Jockey Club, will share the chair role for the first two years.
Hasse Lord Skarplöth, chief executive of ATG, has been elected deputy chair for the same period and Keith Johnson, chief executive of Stronach Group-owned US tote technology provider AmTote, is responsible for finance.
“WoTA is an association to promote interest in tote business and drive prosperity [for the sector],” said Cheung.
WoTA, which will be headquartered in Brussels, will announce further details as to the specific issues and initiatives that will be prioritised on 15 July.
However, it has already outlined principals including that income should be shared with equestrian sports and that the sector should take a leading position in social responsibility. It also wants optimisation of technology to facilitate cooperation between operators and the promotion of a positive customer experience
“I am convinced that this is a force needed to maintain and, in the long run, lift the world's trotting and cantering sports to new levels,” said its deputy chair Skarplöth.
“[Each member] is a key supporter of horse sports in our countries,” he continued. “[WoTA] will further simplify collaboration; we can benefit from the knowledge and different experiences, and act as a strong force for horse gaming companies worldwide.”