Tabcorp Melbourne Cup Outage Riles Industry and Bettors

A technical outage on Saturday left many Tabcorp sports bettors unable to bet on the Melbourne Cup, costing $100 million in betting turnover according to Racenet.

Tab’s Melbourne Cup Outage Disrupts Bettors’ Saturday Plans

The Melbourne Cup Week is one of the largest and most looked-forward horse racing and betting competitions Australia has to offer.

Yet, this weekend ended in what Racenet, a media outlet dedicated to horse racing, described as a meltdown, citing Tabcorp’s technical malfunction that forced the rescheduling of events and deprived many of the opportunity to place a wager on one of the major race days in the festival.  

The reason behind the upset was an unexpected outage of the Tabcorp sports betting software which reportedly resulted in the loss of $100 million of betting turnover, and around $7 to $10 million that would have been poured back into the horse racing industry. The malfunction delayed two key races, to name Flemington on Stakes Day and Rosehill in Sydney.

According to Racenet, Tabcorp’s software experienced technical difficulties that rendered it unavailable after 11 am local time. The issue prevented consumers from betting, whether that was via telephone or other online outlets.

Distraught users took to social media in droves, expressing their frustration with the technological snafu, and pinning the blame on hackers. Melbourne Racing Club chairman Mike Symons called it a “Group 1 embarrassment,” and urged for compensations.

TAB Corp. Responds Swiftly to Issues

Tabcorp remains the most respected sports betting bookmaker in Australia and as such it holds sway with local industry bodies and more importantly, horse racing fans, and the company is also the official MLB partner in the country. Tabcorp issued a swift apology earlier today in a Twitter message.

Yet, criticism has been piling on. TAB chief executive David Attenborough has acknowledged the issue and apologized deeply, stressing the importance of understanding the issue at its core.

Mr. Attenborough informed consumers and industry representatives that the issue had been caused due to a data distribution center malfunction. Tabcorp’s servers are located in the data center in question.

“We appreciate the importance of today’s race meetings, especially at Flemington and Rosehill Gardens, and are disappointed that we have been unable to give customers the experience the day deserves.”

-TAB chief executive David Attenborough

Despite Mr. Attenborough’s good intentions, Racing Victoria chief executive Giles Thompson called for swift answers explaining the Saturday debacle. Speaking to Racenet, Mr. Thompson stressed how important receiving a frank explanation from Tabcorp was and what the company would do to prevent such mishaps in the future.

Tabcorp’s Disruption Affects Viewership and Betting Winnings

In Mr. Attenborough and Tabcorp’s defense, it’s fair to say that neither he as an executive nor the company would have benefitted from this development in any way. Mr. Thompson reminded that assessing the damage from the outage would take time to qualify, yet early estimates already put it at $100 million as mentioned before.

While 2020 has been difficult in many ways, with sports sinking to its lowest levels in decades, horse racing has been one of the industries that have gone above and beyond to remain available and guarantee the safety of everyone involved. Tabcorp also had to go to some marketing lengths to get Australians to support it.

Yet, this outage will inevitable effect the majority of states in Australia as well as betting turnover, especially when that affected one of the major race days. Tab’s crash has had wide-spread repercussions, including affecting Ladbrokes and Sportsbet which were unable to honor bets due to delayed results, as tote offerings are linked to TAB.

Another issue was the fact that the Victoria Racing Club, which has a streaming deal with TAB, was unable to broadcast events to fans, making for a double-whammy.

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