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Sportsbet Migrates to AWS to Support 50,000 Bets Per Minute and Personalize Customer Experience

2020

Every year, customers place more than 300 million bets on Sportsbet, a leading online bookmaker. People across Australia visit Sportsbet to place bets through the organization’s iOS or Android app or website on a range of sporting and entertainment events such as horse racing, rugby, the Australian Football League, soccer, and US sports.

Sportsbet has grown rapidly and invests strongly in its staff and digital infrastructure. “Our company’s growth requires constant technological innovation,” says Simon Noonan, chief information officer for Sportsbet. In particular, the organization had to expand its platform to support up to 35,000 bets per minute during the two-week peak within the annual Spring Racing Carnival. “We needed to scale our infrastructure tenfold to support traffic spikes during the Melbourne Cup, and that was becoming increasingly difficult,” Noonan says. “We had to find new technology to enable the business to grow and innovate with speed.”

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We’ve proven that we can actually scale to 50,000 bets per minute if we need to. There’s no way we would have been able to do that without being on AWS."

Simon Noonan
Chief Information Officer, Sportsbet

Moving a Web Application to AWS

To gain the scalability it required, Sportsbet decided to move its core betting application environment, OpenBet, to Amazon Web Services (AWS). “We looked at other cloud providers, but AWS had the scale we needed, and it offered better capabilities as far as compute, data, and end-to-end networking,” says Noonan.

Sportsbet chose cloud consulting company Mantalus, an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner in the AWS Partner Network (APN), to work with its in-house team to assist in migrating OpenBet to AWS. Mantalus worked with Sportsbet to move 78 application components, written using the Tcl, C/C++, and Java programming languages, to Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2). The application component data is stored in a shared Informix database, and Mantalus reviewed each component pattern in detail. Its migration team considered potential issues with specific programming languages interacting with AWS environments and evaluated the impact of any interaction on the final architecture and design.

Sportsbet takes advantage of Amazon EC2 to run its primary website and mobile applications, core betting engine, and pricing and personalization models. It also uses AWS Glue to prepare and load pricing and customer data into a data lake based on Amazon Redshift.

The company relied on AWS services to complete the cloud migration quickly. “We migrated two data centers to AWS in 24 months—12 months faster than expected—because we didn’t have any roadblocks in the AWS offering to slow us down,” says Noonan.

Supporting up to 50,000 Bets a Minute

With the scalability and agility provided by AWS, Sportsbet can quickly scale its application environment on demand to support traffic spikes during the Melbourne Cup and other large events. “AWS gives us the confidence that we can scale to meet the tenfold traffic increase we see with the Melbourne Cup every year,” says Noonan. “This past year, we easily scaled to support 35,000 bets per minute, an increase from the typical 20,000 bets per minute we’ve seen in the past. We’ve proven that we can actually scale to 50,000 bets per minute if we need to. There’s no way we would have been able to do that without being on AWS.”

Delivering a More Personalized Customer Experience

Sportsbet is differentiating its business by taking advantage of its Amazon Redshift data lake. Specifically, the company is using insights gained from its data analytics models to enable personalization. “Based on what a particular customer has browsed or bet on, or what their sports preferences are, we can personalize their experience so that the customer is given the most relevant information and doesn’t have to search for a product on the website or app,” says Noonan. “We can also look at sporting events coming up that might interest a customer and suggest those events.”

The company also relies on its data lake to generate pricing models. Using AWS, Sportsbet creates its pricing and personalization models with 10 billion rows of data and generates thousands of simulations per second around the probability of an outcome. As a result, the company decides which prices to put on each outcome. “We use our models to generate prices during games, depending on the stage of the game,” says Noonan. “We perform tens of thousands of simulations every second around the probability of an outcome of a game. Based on that outcome, we put a price on it based on the risk we’re willing to take.”

Increasing Performance by 30%, Speeding Development by 60%

Since migrating OpenBet to AWS, Sportsbet is enabling improved overall application performance. “We have increased performance by 30–40 percent, so our customers get a faster experience,” says Noonan.

In addition, with greater agility, the organization is supporting its DevOps approach. “We have become more agile and have taken our software development in-house instead of relying on third-party vendors,” says Noonan. “As a result, we are delivering new software features to market 60 percent faster.” One example is the “Same Race Multi” feature for horse racing bets, through which customers can create a bet by predicting the finishing order of horses in a race.

Sportsbet has also launched an AWS Cloud Academy for its employees, which provides training on new AWS services. “So far, we’ve had 500 employees go through the academy,” says Noonan. “It supports the four key pillars of our technology strategy: using platforms to our advantage, delivering the best customer experiences, evolving ‘how we get stuff done,’ and investing in the tools of the trade for our staff. The training has really changed the mindset of people at our company and has allowed us to shift into having cloud computing skills dispersed across our technology team. Using AWS, we will continue to support our growth momentum well into the future.”

To learn more, visit aws.amazon.com/websites.


About Sportsbet

Sportsbet is an online Australian sports betting platform and the country’s largest corporate bookmaker. Each year, customers make roughly 300 million bets on horse racing, rugby, football, and other sporting events using the Sportsbet site. 

Benefits

  • Scales to support up to 50,000 bets a minute
  • Personalizes the customer experience
  • Increases application performance by 30%
  • Accelerates the development of new features by 60%

AWS Services Used

Amazon EC2

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) is a web service that provides secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud. It is designed to make web-scale cloud computing easier for developers.

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AWS Glue

AWS Glue is a fully managed extract, transform, and load (ETL) service that makes it easy for customers to prepare and load their data for analytics.

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Amazon Redshift

Redshift powers analytical workloads for Fortune 500 companies, startups, and everything in between. Companies like Lyft have grown with Redshift from startups to multi-billion dollar enterprises.

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