|combination was found to be causing
too great an expenditure, which could
not be afforded. To chose a combination
price of 1.50 kronor was found to be too
Then the idea came to add one
more race to the ticket, a V6. Too difficult
was the verdict, before a bright person
came up with the idea of splitting
the pool into two: five and six winners,
and it was named the V65.
This seemed to please everybody,
and negotiations with the government
ended up with an agreement which said
that the V65 should be administrated by
a totally new company, the ATG, which
was to be owned 100 per cent by the racing industry (95 per cent harness, five per cent Thoroughbred).
However it was ruled that the board
consist of 10 members, five government
appointed and five from the racing
industry. The chairman should at all
times be government
meant that the government should
“win” the vote by a draw. To my knowledge
such a situation never occurred in
the 35 year existence of the ATG, which
was founded 1973.
The ATG was essentially the betting
department of the STC (the Swedish equivalent to USTA and Standardbred Canada),
and it started up with two employees in a
small office in central Stockholm.
The first employee was Gert
Lindberg, who came from a position as
CEO of the newest racetrack in Sweden
at that time, Halmstad. Mr. Lindberg,
who was in his late 30s, had previously
been occupied in politics, which became
very useful for him during his 25 year
career as CEO of the ATG. He and his staff were responsible for the development of the V65 racing system and the improvement of off track betting.
The latter had been introduced in
Sweden in the late 1960s, but it was very
complicated and limited. In the beginning
off track bets had to be made and
mailed several days before the actual day
It was decided that the V65 should
be raced every Saturday afternoon, 52
times a year, and that all 24 permanent
tracks should host at least one V65 card
every year. The bigger tracks like
|Solvalla, Gothenburg and Malmö got up
to eight V65s a year.
A new racing system was introduced
as well. Horses were divided into six firm
divisions, the free for all class was called
the Gold Division.
Under Gold ranked Silver, Bronze
and the classes I, II and III. The historic
first V65 card was raced at Solvalla on
August 18, 1974. The first race was won
by a horse called Rodetto with 24 yearold
trainer Hans-Owe Sundberg.
The distribution of betting was
improved. With the introduction of the
V65, wagering was postponed to terminate on Friday afternoon for the
Saturday card. Off track betting could
now be made at Swedish post offices.
The first V65 turnover on that
Saturday afternoon in 1974 exceeded
all expectations, and it continued to
increase in the following years, and the
industry started to bloom again. The
country was roughly divided into 24
betting divisions, one for each track.
Due to a money distribution model,
tracks got good percentages of the
turnover in their jurisdiction, which had
a positive impact on the track’s economy
and with time easily could keep
each track alive.
As one of the demands in the contract
with the government, harness racing
should “take care” of the welfare of
the Thoroughbred racing, which had no
chance to survive by itself in Sweden (or
in any other Scandinavian country).
Therefore the Thoroughbred industry
got five per cent of the income although
it only generated two per cent of the
turnover, and it’s the same picture today
in 2008. At one point a special
Thoroughbred game was introduced, a
double trifecta, but it failed badly.
Scandinavians just aren’t into
A new important step was made at
the end of the ‘70s as the ATG managed
to obtain TV time in the main channel
TV1 every Saturday afternoon. All six
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