Howdy Folks;
I have decided to begin working on a project, that I personally feel will cover alot of areas, and introduce me to new topics. This is not for a client, or a homework assignment. This is strictly to help me 'learn as I go' and review some old topics. This project will emulate the self betting terminals available at raceways (horse racing), and will be fully functional minus the actual ability to bet. If you are unsure of what a self betting terminal is, feel free to check this out. Instead of using fake information, I would like to incorporate live data from a few tracks. The OTB covers all the tracks that I may want to include here.

Here are the goals of this project:
-Create a fully functional GUI based application (minus the betting ability)
-Incorporate live information, that self sustains itself, and continually updates
-Ensure that every race, betting type, and horse is available for said track
-Make sure that betting types and amts. are accurate.

How the betting terminal should work;
-Say you had a list of tracks A-Z, and wanted to bet on Track B.
1st; You would select Track B
2nd; Based on that Track, it will list all available races at that time.
3rd; Once the desired race(s) have been selected that you want to bet
4th; A list of available betting types for the specified race will appear
5th; Dependent upon what option you choose, you can set BOX, STRAIGHT, WHEEL ALL, or WHEEL PARTIAL
6th; After selecting your betting type & betting option, the list of horses will arise
7th; Select the horses you wish to bet on (there should be odds denoted as well), and grey out any 'scratched' horses
8th; After you selected your horses, display the user's input, and confirm
9th; Once confirmed, the user's request will be printed, and then you could hand in that ticket to the nearest teller, or voucher system.

Here are a few questions that I have:
-How can I possibly rake in all the information about these various tracks?
-Is there some way I can do this project soley in Java, or will I need some third party tools?
-Will I need a database of some sort, or can I just relay the information from their sites into the program w/ minimal hassle?
-What would be the best procedure/process in order to accomplish this project?
-Would it be possible to after creating this application, convert it to an Applet if I so want to?

Thank You.

That sounds like a perfectly reasonable and interesting Java project, assuming you can get access to the live info through some kind of internet service. Downloading/copying databases is unlikely to give you the kind of real-time data you want. Finding that access must be step one, because if you can't do that (or if it's expensive) then there's no point continuing.

It seems that I could create an account here, and it says that it will provide
FREE Real-time racing information: race odds, will-pays, race scratches/changes, and track conditions.
FREE Horse Racing Picks - Selections for New York race tracks, Aqueduct, Saratoga & Belmont Park.
However, it seems that I will have to login each time in order to get the information, is there a way that I could automate this? Make it so that the information is available each time the application loads? Providing all the information I need?

Sorry, on-line gambling's not an area I have any experience of (if I bet on the sun rising tomorrow then the world would probably stop turning just to spite me). Anyway, logging in to a web site from Java is no problem, but parsing the returned info can be tedious. I would start with a little program to send the web requests and start parsing the returned HTML to get a handle on what problems there will be with this particular site. Probably won't be easy, but will be interesting.

Does this look like something, I would want to use?

I seriously doubt programs that automatically play the system are in accordance with the terms of use of any online gaming system...

No offense, but what are you talking about? My project is simply retrieving real information on tracks/horses/betting types available at certain races. Then I can use it to simulate the self betting terminals found at every racetrack or any otb. It's not like I'll be able to bet from my house with my project, it's simply a simulation. Don't see how I'm even close to breaking any terms or non-sense your talking about.

as I thought, you're trying to steal data. Without permission from the site operators what you're trying to do is not allowed.
Talk to them, get permission, and they'll likely sell you the data and the means to access it AT A PRICE.

I just took a moment to read the Terms and Conditions for the site linked above, and as far as I can see, if you have opened an account with them and are not in a location where betting is illegal, then you are allowed access and use the info they provide for your own use and without charges.
Clearly it's not quite what they intended - they assume you will be placing bets through them, but I can't find any such restriction in their contract. So I'm with pbj on this one, sorry duckman.

Once again, I have no idea what you are talking about. I have no intent to steal their data, I just want to make a simulation of a betting terminal using live data. Please research horse betting, and the fact that the information I am requesting is of little value, if any at all. It can be found at any horse raceway, and for free. Please stop downvoting everything, as a result of your inability to click the links I provided which display my intent.
Thank you, I appreciate the information, I started writing out how I could do this project, and plan on working on this project in the upcoming weeks. Haha no, it's not illegal where I live... I work as a betting clerk =D