Sportsbet

Sportsbet Uses AWS to Support Agile Business Growth and Innovation

2021

Sportsbet has always treated data as a tool for business growth. Founded in 1993, the Australian online gambling company has grown rapidly to serve over 1.7 million users in 2021. However, Sportsbet realized that its legacy corporate data warehouse would not be able to support its growing customer demand, data volume, and need for machine learning (ML) capabilities. To keep up with its evolving business, it needed a more advanced data analytics solution.

Working alongside teams from Amazon Web Services (AWS), Sportsbet is migrating its mission-critical data services to a data lake house architecture on AWS. Using AWS services, Sportsbet hopes to improve its reporting and analytics capabilities, empower its employees to use data to meet business objectives, and provide scalable tools to support advanced ML use cases, such as real-time customer personalization.

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Using a pipeline-as-a-service framework that we developed through AWS Data Lab, we can now collect data in real time.”

Niall Keating
Data general manager for the technology team, Sportsbet

Migrating from a Monolithic Data Warehouse

A member of the Ireland-based Flutter Entertainment group, Sportsbet provides betting services to Australian customers online, through its mobile app, and over the phone. “We have a strong focus on using data and ML to further the customer experience,” says Niall Keating, data general manager for the technology team at Sportsbet. “For many years, we’ve used data to manage our risks and liabilities, drive marketing and promotional initiatives, and most importantly, make gambling safer for our customers.”

Sportsbet has used AWS services since 2015, and by 2020, it had migrated its entire infrastructure to AWS. The company hosts its customer data analytics system on Amazon Redshift—which customers can use to query and combine structured and semistructured data using a variety of analytics and ML tools—but it was relying on a monolithic database environment to host its core corporate data, which includes business-critical information for activities such as reporting and compliance. Since 2019, Sportsbet has seen rapid growth and been experiencing seasonal traffic spikes during major sporting events, leading to performance concerns for its corporate data pipeline. “We wanted to migrate to a simpler and more scalable environment where we can facilitate access to high-quality and highly available data,” says Keating. “We wanted to build microservices on top of this data to support innovative customer and business outcomes.”

Building on the success it achieved while using AWS for other data pipelines, Sportsbet realized that it could use a similar approach to modernize its corporate data capabilities and provide the company with the elasticity, scalability, and continuous innovation that it needed to support its growth. “We saw the evolving road map for AWS services, their growing capabilities, and how much AWS has invested in its solutions,” says Keating. “These were the reasons we chose AWS.”

Investing in Customers to Complement Technology on AWS

In August 2019, representatives from Sportsbet, Flutter Entertainment, and several AWS Product teams met for a data summit in San Francisco and participated in AWS Data Lab, a program that offers accelerated, joint engineering engagements between customers and AWS technical resources to create tangible deliverables that accelerate data and analytics modernization initiatives. Through five AWS Data Lab sessions, Sportsbet developed a data modernization strategy and an aligned architecture on AWS to support its project, including the identification of Amazon EMR—which rapidly processes, analyzes, and applies ML to big data using open-source frameworks—as an optimal solution to handle its large data volume.

In August 2021, Sportsbet began migrating its corporate data warehouse to a data lake house architecture powered by Amazon RedShift and Delta Lake — an open format storage layer that delivers reliability, security, and performance on data lakes. This solution pulls data from multiple sources into a data lake on Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), an object storage service that offers industry-leading scalability, data availability, security, and performance, unifying and centralizing critical data. To perform complex data queries and pull data from sources based on Apache Kafka, an open-source distributed event streaming software, Sportsbet relies on Amazon EMR as a high-performing, scalable big data processing solution. Sportsbet also uses AWS Glue—a serverless data integration service that makes it easy to discover, prepare, and combine data for analytics, ML, and application development—to pull data from non–Apache Kafka sources and convert it into a format compatible with Delta Lake.

Using AWS services, Sportsbet’s data lake house architecture is highly scalable, adapts elastically to seasonal traffic fluctuations, and provides developers with faster, simpler access to data from multiple sources. “Using a pipeline-as-a-service framework that we developed through AWS Data Lab, we can now collect data in real time,” says Keating. This fast, scalable architecture will support Sportsbet’s developers in building innovative features at a quicker pace. Using this solution, the company expects to increase developer productivity by 40 percent.

This project will also help Sportsbet accelerate its data strategy goals. In July 2021, the company launched its Data Academy, an initiative designed to help employees grow their data skill sets and effectively use data across teams, including human resources, customer relations, and marketing. “The purpose of our Data Academy is to bust the myth that data is only for people in technical roles,” says Disha Sabharwal, organizational development manager at Sportsbet. “All our teams look at data even if they are not consciously tracking it. We want everyone to begin experimenting with data so that we can improve our metrics.” Sportsbet also used AWS Training and Certification, which helps individuals build and validate skills to get more out of the cloud, to support its Data Academy initiative. By investing in its employees’ technical skills on AWS, Sportsbet is closer to reaching its organizational goals for growing careers through data literacy.

Scaling and Amplifying the Impact of Data on AWS

Using AWS services, Sportsbet will continue to strengthen and scale its data warehousing and analytics capabilities, unlocking improvements in productivity, performance, and agility. The company began moving its data solution into production in October 2021. On AWS, Sportsbet expects to handle higher workloads with greater efficiency and provide near-real-time API microservices to deliver a personalized customer experience. It plans to test the performance and scalability of the solution during the November 2021 Melbourne Cup Carnival, an annual Australian horse racing event that contributes to an enormous peak in Sportsbet’s seasonal traffic. “As we move forward, we will pick off use cases that need to be migrated and deliver them iteratively in a fully agile manner,” says Keating. “At this stage, we’re well beyond evaluating our solution. We’re now scaling, amplifying, and growing our business.”

To Learn More

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


About Sportsbet

Sportsbet is an online gambling company headquartered in Melbourne, Australia. Founded in 1993, the company serves over 1.7 million active users and offers betting services online, through its mobile app, and over the telephone.

Benefits of AWS

  • Expects to improve developer productivity by 40%
  • Ingests data in near real time
  • Improved employees’ technical skills
  • Helps developers build innovative solutions at a faster pace

AWS Services Used

Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3)

Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) is an object storage service that offers industry-leading scalability, data availability, security, and performance.

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Amazon EMR

Amazon EMR is a platform for rapidly processing, analyzing, and applying machine learning (ML) to big data using open-source frameworks.

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AWS Glue

AWS Glue is a serverless data integration service that makes it easy to discover, prepare, and combine data for analytics, machine learning, and application development. 

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AWS Data Lab

AWS Data Lab offers accelerated, joint engineering engagements between customers and AWS technical resources to create tangible deliverables that accelerate data and analytics modernization initiatives.

Learn more »


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