A$20 million project involved a technical team of 188
Australian betting giant Tabcorp's SunBets venture into the UK market in partnership with News UK last year represents a powerful alliance in which Tabcorp delivered the technical and betting expertise, whilst News UK provided the influence of its massive readership and media assets… but the partnership was preceded by months of technical development as an in-house technical team of 188 put together a bespoke proprietary platform in a A$20 million project.
The details were revealed this week in an IT News article quoting Tabcorp's chief information officer, Kim Wenn, who described the SunBets project as Tabcorp's biggest global venture yet.
The technical team had to provide Tabcorp's commitment to the deal in the form of wagering systems, services, customer interface, and management of the combined online wagering, bingo, and gaming business, all on a platform sufficiently flexible and powerful to handle a market three times the size of Australia, while managing the demands of two large companies, each with its own culture and management culture.
Wenn revealed that the successful bespoke platform developed from Tabcorp's existing systems used fixed odds and customer wallet technology, alongside digital offerings, integrated Playtech online casino software for bingo and gaming content, and UK-centric services like a UK payment gateway solution to localise the platform.
"This is very much about building something that is scalable, transferable and on our own software," Wenn said. "So while establishing a profitable business in the UK is important, it's also about building more capability. Sun Bets is about extending the organisation beyond its traditional boundaries and pushing our digital team in terms of how we build products and think about betting."
The project required 36 different systems to be linked up and configured specifically for UK regulations, and ported from hardware to a cloud environment hosted in the UK, Wenn revealed.
Payroll was outsourced, new marketing tools were built, and Tabcorp's existing HR and business intelligence systems were expanded to the UK. Systems had to be built to facilitate live betting, which is popular in the UK, but something Tabcorp had not offered locally due to Australian legal restrictions.
"This led to us effectively building a new business platform that underpinned the Sun Bets website, including providing every technology solution to manage the business by expanding current capabilities or acquiring new ones," Wenn said.
The platform is sufficiently flexible to introduce and update innovations occurring in either the UK or Australia, Wenn revealed.
"For example, if a new betting feature is added to tab.com.au, it can now be used by Sun Bets," he said, adding that the platform can if necessary be re-deployed to enhance new partnerships that Tabcorp might enter into.
Launched in August 2016, the bespoke platform has performed to expectations, and later investment in technology and cloud facilities has resulted in an ability to operate both Tabcorp and SunBets independently.
"This means we have the freedom to play with a product in the market while still being able to develop capability that's shared across both brands," Wenn claimed.
IT News notes that the platform gives Tabcorp a leg up into a A$7 billion market, and the company is expecting a variable contribution margin of 20 percent from sales revenue. The company is expecting Sun Bets to make money within the next five years.
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