A tote board is a large, numeric or alphanumeric display used to convey information, typically at a race track (to display the odds or payoffs for each horse) or at a telethon (to display the total amount donated to the charitable organization sponsoring the event).
The first tote boards were manufactured for the horse racing industry by the American Totalizator Company, and "tote board" is probably a colloquialism for totalizator.
A totalisator or totalizator is the name for the computerised system which runs parimutuel betting, calculating payoff odds, displaying them, and producing tickets based on incoming bets.
The first totalisator was an entirely mechanical system invented by the Australian George Julius of Julius Poole & Gibson Pty Ltd. It was installed at Ellerslie Racecourse in New Zealand in 1913 . The first totalisator installed in the United States was at Arlington Park racecourse, Chicago, in 1933 . Julius, who was later knighted, founded Automatic Totalisators Ltd. in 1917 and added electrical components. The first entirely electronic totalisator was developed in 1966. Totalisators have been superseded by general purpose computers running specialised wagering software such as Autotote.