Who Created the Betting Algorithm for Horse Racing?

The creation of the betting algorithm for horse racing is often credited to a man named William Young. However, the truth is a bit more complicated and involves a few individuals.

In 1895, Young was a clerk working for a shipping company in London. While there, he came up with the idea of using arithmetical formulas to combine horse racing results to give an indication of the probable winner of the race. Since that time, Young’s algorithm has been used all over the world to make sports betting more convenient for bettors. Today, the terms “betting algorithm” and “Young’s algorithm” are often used interchangeably.

The Early History of Horse Racing

Horse racing can be traced back to the 1800s, when it started as a way for wealthy families to spend their leisure time. It wasn’t until the early 20th century that the sport really started to grow in popularity as the automobile became more prevalent. People soon realized that they could use their new vehicles to travel to the races, creating all-time record attendance figures.

However, it wasn’t until the 1950s that the modern-day image of the glamorous horsewoman gracing the cover of a magazine hit the scene. That’s when Olympic gold medallist and renowned fashionista Shirley Strickland made horse racing fashionable again. In the decades that followed, horse racing grew in popularity, especially among the middle class, creating the need for more sophisticated betting strategies.

How Did William Young Come Up With the Idea For the Betting Algorithm?

It was while working as a shipping clerk for the General Steam Ship Company in London that William Young came up with the idea of the betting algorithm. In 1889, Young was working on a project to combine the results of several horse races into a single numerical result. Because his boss was away on holiday, he had gone into his office and was trying to think of a way to make horse racing more convenient for bettors when he made a breakthrough. While trying to solve this problem, he came up with a way of combining the results of two or more horse races to give a better indication of which horse will come out on top. This led to him creating a betting algorithm which could be used to combine the results of horse races to form a single figure.

Young then tried to interest bookmakers in his invention, but it wasn’t until 1895 that he began to receive any support. That same year, he went to New York and tried to interest the American bookmakers in his invention. While there, he approached a banker named Edward A. Filene and showed him how his algorithm could be used to make betting more convenient. Filene then introduced Young to his friend, Arnold Rothstein, the “Man of Mensa” who had made his name as a mobster but was now running his own “legal” gambling operation. Rothstein was intrigued by Young’s invention and decided to give it a try, setting up a betting shop in New York City. The rest, as they say, is history.

The Algorithm’s Development

Having established itself in New York, Rothstein decided to continue expanding his operations. In 1900, he opened a branch office in London and began recruiting British citizens to come and work for him. One of his first employees in London was a man named James Butler, who was subsequently made head of research for Rothstein’s operation in London. He took Young’s algorithm with him and began developing it further. While working in London, Butler improved Young’s algorithm by applying it to sports other than horse racing, leading to the creation of the “Tote”, the organization which brings together the results of all forms of betting, including horse racing, to give an overall picture of the event. In 1904, the first Tote was opened in Melbourne, Australia.

This is the same year that Arnold Rothstein, the “Man of Mensa”, was arrested for extortion and sent to prison. While he was there, he had time to work on improving his skills, which led to him publishing a book, “The Principles of Conneying”, in which he extensively discussed the subject of contract negotiation, which is why many consider him to be the “father” of business ethics. When Rothstein was released from prison, he set up a professional services firm, which provided him with a steady income. This income allowed him to continue funding the development of Young’s algorithm. In addition to his work with business ethics, Rothstein also took up golf, tennis, and polo, playing well into his 90s.

In 1910, another of Rothstein’s associates, Abe Attell, set up a rival operation, the American Football Association (later to become the NFL). That same year, Rothstein helped establish the National Hockey League (NHL). In 1914, at the behest of the NFL, he set up a rival organization, the Federal Baseball League (FBL). These were all, in one way or another, connected to gambling. In 1915, while working with the FBL, Rothstein set up a baseball card company, named after himself, bearing his initials, A.R. However, this was more than just a business; he was putting his extensive knowledge of gambling and data-gathering to work for the good of the game.

The Rise of the Computer

Although computers had been around since the early 20th century, it was only in the 1960s that they started to become commonplace. This was especially due to the emergence of the modern-day computer: the personal computer. The invention of the personal computer led to another innovation which improved the lives of people everywhere: the internet. The invention of the World Wide Web in 1989 meant that information could now be accessed from anywhere at anytime, resulting in even more people getting online.

The rise of the internet and the computer led to another innovation: big data. The more data that can be gathered together the better, which is why companies like Google and Facebook are always looking to gather as much data as possible. These companies can then use all this information to better target advertisements to their users, increasing their revenue.

In the years that followed, the revenue generated from online betting increased exponentially, with the number of online sportsbooks increasing from 2 in 1995 to more than 20 in 2015.

The International World of Horse Racing

Racing has always been popular in Great Britain, especially since the establishment of the London Racing Club in the 17th century. But it wasn’t until the 20th century that the sport began to gain popularity across borders, with the Irish Grand National in 1898 being the first horse race held outside of Great Britain. Since then, racing has become wildly popular, with a love for all things horse racing evident everywhere you look.

The same can be said for greyhound racing and all types of betting, with countries like Ireland, France, and Russia all having a massive following. The World Cup is often cited as the pinnacle of an event, with fans eagerly awaiting the end of the tournament just to see which team will triumph. This might explain the fierce loyalty that fans have for teams like English rugby union’s “Racing Club” and “Old Trafford”, as well as Italy’s “Azzurri” and Germany’s “Cricketers’ Club”.

The Future of Horse Racing

The internet of things is predicted to explode in the next few years, with more and more people becoming interested in sports. In 2022, the combined revenue of all the sportsbooks in the U.S. is expected to hit $25 billion, up from $16.9 billion in 2021. This is primarily down to increased interest in betting amongst millennials, with 82% of voters between the ages of 18 and 29 saying they would use online resources to help them make their decision. As a result of this, the future of horse racing looks exceptionally bright.