Big race fever crashes online betting agency

For the second day in a row the New South Wales (NSW) state betting agency Totalizator Agency Board (TAB) was unable to take bets...

For the second day in a row the New South Wales (NSW) state betting agency Totalizator Agency Board (TAB) was unable to take bets from thousands of punters keen to bet on Australia's premier horse race - the Melbourne Cup.

On Tuesday (2 November) the NSW TAB online betting portal crashed.

Just 40 minutes before the "race that stops the nation" started, the NSW TAB website was unable to log in users and also unable to process bets.

Users were shown the purple homepage with the words "system temporarily unavailable. Please try again later", and were asked to contact NSW TAB customer service for further information.

TAB spokesperson Peter Fletcher said the initial problem with the website was due to betting load, and all attempts were made at 2.30pm on Tuesday to get it up and running before the race started at 3.10pm.

The site was accessible only minutes before the race started.

"We are only speculating at the moment but we expect the issues to be load-related," Fletcher said.

"Betting was up 8% on last year and we expect online betting to grow exponentially, but some people will be put off - the account betting structure allows for internet and telephone betting to be done from the same account, but it was not an ideal situation for anyone.

"It is impossible to state the amount of betting lost today; revenue from the internet is still small overall, but we do not like any network disruptions and send our apologies."

NSW TAB anticipated taking in more than eight million individual bets through both in-store and online trading.

On Monday (1 November) a software error resulted in a NSW TAB head office server being down for nearly two hours with the result that almost half of the TAB offices were unable to take bets. Fletcher said half of a two-section, cash trade network was unavailable.

Michael Crawford  writes for Computerworld Today


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