How Gambling Websites Can Clean Up at The Races

Dave Bamber Technical Consultant

How Gambling Websites Can Clean Up at The Races

Last weekend, as with every spring in the UK, the horse racing calendar saw the Grand National take place at Liverpool’s iconic Aintree race course. The weekend was packed full of racing, betting and partying, kicked off on Friday by the traditional ‘Ladies Day’ event. Since its first live broadcast on British TV in the 1960’s, the race has grown in popularity among the general public and draws many people, who do not usually gamble, to place bets for this single race. This makes the Grand National the biggest weekend of sports betting in the UK, which poses significant challenges and opportunities to bookmakers in the digital age.

Preventable Problems

In previous years, numerous bookmaker’s websites have struggled under the increased load of Grand National visitor volumes, with many unable to scale quickly enough (or at all) and crashing before the race, or slowing down to the point of abandonment. The scenario is echoed when winners attempt to login and collect their winnings.

Of course, website crashes or significant slowdowns cause problems for gambling operators. Customers who have poor online user experiences, especially those who do not gamble regularly, will almost always abandon their transactions in search of better performing websites, which costs bookmakers hundreds of thousands of pounds – potentially millions – in lost revenues. In addition to these losses, many gambling websites offer freebies in an attempt to smooth over bad experiences and win back lost business. The cost of failure cannot be under estimated. However, it is important to understand that these website failures, whether predicable or not, are preventable.

Cleaning Up On Race Weekend

Traffic spikes caused by abnormal surges in visitor volumes are not always predictable, but in the case of the Grand National the date and duration of that surge is. What is less certain is the size of the spike. Ensuring websites remain operational and performant is fundamental to bookmakers’ successful race weekends. Now the 2017 Grand National has concluded, what can bookmakers learn and implement ready for 2018?

Over the race weekend our Performance Solutions Experts monitored and analysed the top 30 online gambling sites. The main themes coming out of our data include:

  • Understand Performance: First and foremost gambling websites need to know where the limits of their systems are and how it breaks.
  • Understand the Customer Experience:¬†As well as outages, patchy performance or poor performance on particular devices/platforms can impact revenue. Real customer experience needs to be measured and reported on.
  • Improve Performance Maturity: Have you got the right people, process and tooling to achieve the above?