by Lisa Banks

Tabcorp bets on Cloud, iPad on Melbourne Cup day

Nov 10, 2010
Cloud ComputingTelecommunicationsVirtualization

Tabcorp (ASX:TAH) has harnessed the Cloud and iPads to help it address the huge increase in demand on Tabcorp’s IT systems spurred by the Spring Racing Carnival and the Melbourne Cup.

Speaking to CIO Australia, Tabcorp’s wagering division CIO, Kim Wenn, said multiple load tests needed to be done to ensure Tabcorp’s IT systems could handle the huge influx of bets generated throughout the nearly three month long racing season.

“Tabcorp’s preparations for the 2010 Spring Racing Carnival ensured we were ready for the significantly increased load,” she said. “As a guide, a typical Saturday sees our infrastructure usage at about 9 per cent of the load we see on Cup day. Our systems have to work a lot harder on the big days.”

Combined with this increased load was Tabcorp’s introduction of iPad’s on the racetrack, a new iPhone app and live betting used for the first time during the racing season that stops the nation.

“Tabcorp aims to be at the forefront of wagering technology,” Wenn said. “We introduced the TAB iPhone Betting App in time for the Spring Racing Carnival and more than 100,000 Australians have now downloaded it.

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“We also introduced new products such as live betting, expanded our coverage of fixed odds betting through our automated call centre channels and deployed iPads and Tablets on racetracks.”

Wenn said her team outsourced its infrastructure to HP, its communications to Telstra and utilised the Amazon cloud for online load testing, protecting its communication channels through additional redundancy layers.

“This year’s focus was on credit card servers and payment gateways,” she said. “…Additionally, we significantly increased bandwidth across all communications channels for the expected load from retail, internet, call centre and on course.”

Tabcorp’s IT systems processed more than 49 million transactions on Melbourne Cup day, with peak periods recording sales of 754 bets per second. Wenn’s IT systems also had to handle 535,000 unique site visits and more than 15 million page views.

Wenn said the statistics show the volume of pressure Tabcorp’s IT systems regularly face.

“These numbers show the enormous depth of interest in betting with the TAB and the significant load of our wagering systems deal with,” she said. “We were pleased to deliver a seamless operational performance.”

Wenn said while new technologies played a major role in Tabcorp’s success during the Melbourne Cup, her team will continue to explore new technological boundaries.

“Tabcorp’s focus at the future is to continue to be at the forefront of wagering technology,” she said. “We are exploring new ways to allow our customers to transact with us such as Android technology, T-box and IP-TV.”

In October, Tabcorp managing director and chief executive, Elmer Funke Kupper, flagged mobile and online gambling as a major source of future profitability.

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