Software

Which Bookmaker Had The Fastest Website On Grand National Day?

Sam Pudwell joined Silicon UK as a reporter in December 2016. As well as being the resident Cloud aficionado, he covers areas such as cyber security, government IT and sports technology, with the aim of going to as many events as possible.

The UK’s biggest online betting sites fell short of the mark when it came to website speed

Some UK online betting services didn’t match the hype of the Grand National when it came to website performance, delivering slow-running sites in the run-up to the race and on the day itself.

Digital performance intelligence firm Catchpoint monitored the performance of UK betting sites including Bet365, SkyBet, Ladbrokes and PaddyPower over Grand National weekend and has reported below-par results for some of the country’s top bookies.

The standard load time for online retail home pages is three to four seconds, but Gamebookers, SkyBet, The Tote and Paddy Power all fell short of this mark.

horse racing race speed © Cheryl Ann Quigley Shutterstock

One-horse race

Gamebookers came in last place with a load time of eight seconds, with the other three only fairing a second better. Blue Square had the fastest loading homepage, registering an impressive 1.2 seconds.

These results suggest that bookmakers were not adequately prepared for the spike in demand of online bets, despite the Grand National being the biggest horse race on the UK calendar.

Prior to the actual race day, the time it took for web pages to load to the point where customers could play bets averaged at over four seconds, with factors such as large volumes of data and complex applications contributing to poor performances.

“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,” said Robert Castley, senior performance engineer at Catchpoint.

“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.

“Unfortunately, on Saturday UK betting sites did not maintain a good standard and the majority of their pages took considerably longer to load than is acceptable in our digital consumer economy. Whether this frustrated someone placing the winning bet may never be known but we hope the industry learns from this year and runs a faster digital Grand National next year.”

Customer experience is essential for bookmakers who face intense competition, especially at peak times of the year. However they are also a major target for DDoS attacks, with many investing significantly to avoid any downtime that could cost them huge amounts of money./

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