The 2017 Grand National — Weekly Round-up for April 14, 2017

By Brian Cullingworth, Last updated Apr 14, 2017

NYX Gaming’s Openbet Platform Sets New Grand National Betting Record

68,000 peak bets-per-minute and 24 million bets placed in 24 hours.

NYX Gaming Group reported on its Grand National betting performance Tuesday, revealing that the company’s Openbet platform handled 24 million sports bets across all channels on the day of the famous steeplechase.

The 24-hour period is traditionally the supplier’s busiest of the year. At its peak, the company processed 68,000 bets-per-minute on Saturday, 8th April 2017 – an increase of 10 percent from 2016. In addition, OpenBet processed a total of 74 million account transactions; an uplift of 22 percent from 12 months ago.

The 2017 Grand National also saw an increase in the percentage of bets that were placed on mobile devices, with an average of 76 percent of all remote bets being made via the channel.

NYX chief executive Matt Davey said in a company statement:

“The Grand National is a major event for our UK customers and months of preparation precedes the day itself. The race places huge demands on our industry and our key focus is enabling our customers to offer the quality of service and experience that players demand.

“With a peak of 68,000 bets-per-minute and total of 24 million bets in 24 hours, we demonstrated the vast scale of the OpenBet platform. [By way of comparison] Amazon at its peak in 2016 handled 36,000 transactions per minute, which provides further context to the load and volumes that the platform handled over the Grand National.”

Chris McCoy, head of sports Integration of Paddy Power Betfair, said: “Grand National day is by far the busiest day of the year for any bookmaker. We have to deliver a best-in-class player experience across all channels. Saturday was fantastic for us, and the reliability and performance of OpenBet’s sportsbook was a key part of that success.”

Richard Flint, CEO of Sky Betting & Gaming, said: “OpenBet’s efforts over the past couple of months, and on Saturday itself, have helped us prepare for and achieve yet another record-breaking Grand National result. Expectations are always high and, once again, another flawless execution was delivered with great stability.”

Last month, OpenBet achieved record Cheltenham Festival figures when it handled 35,000,000 total sports bets and 227,000,000 account transactions during the four days of the 2017 festival.

Bookies Feel The Pain On Grand National Results

One for Arthur turns out to be one for the bookies at 14 to 1.

The annual Grand National horse race in the UK took place over the weekend, leaving many bookies totting up their losses following a win by Scottish horse One for Arthur at 14 to 1.

A win for One for Arthur was largely unexpected and only the second victory in the epic race by a Scottish horse since the late ‘seventies.

William Hill reported that it took in bets worth around GBP 25 million and admitted that it would most likely have to “give it all back”, with a spokesman saying ruefully:

“It was a National to forget for us but a fairly grand one for punters in Scotland.”

In past years the bookmaking giant has averaged around GBP 5 million in revenue each year from the Grand National, but not this time.

How Did UK Bookmakers Websites Fare During Grand National?

Not very well, according to CatchPoint reports a lack-lustre website performance in terms of speed from major UK bookmakers’ websites in the days leading up to and during the Grand National, arguably one of the biggest horse racing events on the calendar.

Quoting analysis from digital performance intelligence firm Catchpoint, the report identifies a below-par performance from big names including Ladbrokes, SkyBet, bet365 and Paddy Power.

Gamebookers earned the unenviable title of the slowest load time of eight seconds, while Blue Square came out tops with a stellar 1.2 seconds.

According to CatchPoint, in the lead up to the event, web pages took on average four seconds to load to a point where punters could place their bets, with performance affected by the large volumes of data and complex applications.

“Online betting websites usually have complex technical platforms that include in-house and third-party software to serve the highly dynamic websites especially at time-sensitive events like horse races,” Robert Castley, senior performance engineer at Catchpoint, said.

“The Grand National is perhaps one of the most popular events for betting and is an example of where gaming sites must cope with extraordinary surges of traffic. So, keeping your site up and running and performing well at all times on the high-stakes race day is at the heart of whether your online betting business flourishes”.

Castley pointed out loading speeds took considerably longer than the UK’s digital consumer economy deems acceptable, and trusts the industry will take note to ensure a faster digital Grand National next year.

Brian Cullingworth

Infopowa news was a staple of Casinomeister’s news from 2000 until 2019. Brian Cullingworth was the main writer, contributor, and was one of the most knowledgeable persons I have ever known involved in the online casino industry.

We first met in January 2001 at the ICE in London where I observed him going booth to booth interviewing online casino, software, and licensing jurisdiction representatives. Brian was also heavily involved with our forum as “Jetset“, he was involved as an informal consultant to eCOGRA, the OPA, and was a player advocate who assisted countless aggrieved players with his connections to industry folks. He also published “Casino Cautions” via Infopowa news for quite a number of years. These can be found in our news archives.

His passing in February 2019 was a dark day for us. He will be forever missed.

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