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Tipico Uses AWS Outposts to Scale International iGaming Platform Expansion Plan

2021

Tipico, an international sports bookmaker with a large market share in Germany, wanted to enter the US market to expand its business. US regulations require that online bookmakers maintain their user data on premises within state boundaries. Tipico had recently migrated its legacy on-premises applications to AWS. To operate in the United States and comply with regulations, it would have to deploy infrastructure in colocation facilities and use different tools and services to run its application than it uses in the cloud.

The company turned to AWS Outposts, a fully managed service that offers the same AWS infrastructure, services, APIs, and tools to virtually any data center, colocation space, or on-premises facility. Using AWS Outposts, Tipico was able to effectively meet its data residency requirements without the overhead of setting up on-premises infrastructure or rewriting its software stack. The company also optimized time, achieved scalability, and gained the ability to quickly replicate to new markets.

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AWS Outposts ideally fit our use case. We can use the AWS APIs, and we can use all
we have in code; we just need to make some small adjustments.” 

Thorsten Hanf
Head of Enterprise Operations, Tipico

Using AWS Outposts to Operate within Strict Government Regulations

Tipico offers safe, secure digital and mobile betting entertainment across 30 sports—mainly soccer and tennis—to about seven million customers. It also operates an online casino. Tipico was operating with a legacy on-premises database in Amsterdam until 2017, when it decided to migrate to AWS. “We didn’t lift and shift,” says Michał Szychowski, cloud architect at Tipico. “Over 9 months, we wrote over 70,000 lines of infrastructure code, and the goal was to make it reusable and keep the architecture clean.” Then, in August 2018, Tipico migrated in just 1 week without impacting customers.

Tipico expanded to the United States and opened an office in New Jersey in 2020, but state regulations required that all user data be stored in a colocation at approved locations. Lack of an AWS Region in New Jersey meant that data could not leave Tipico’s on-premises data center to be stored in the cloud. “This was a unique experience,” says Szychowski. “When you migrate to the cloud, you see that the internet knows no borders. Then you face the law requirements and realize that the internet may not have borders, but governments do. And people are pushing local governments to protect their data more.” Tipico found the move to an on-premises data center for stronger security counterintuitive—it had left its original on-premises setup because mistakes, such as coding errors that could lead to data breaches and other security issues, were more likely in that setup.

The company first heard about AWS Outposts when the offering was released in 2018. Using it to create a hybrid architecture would enable Tipico to satisfy US data residency requirements without too much work. “AWS Outposts ideally fit our use case,” says Thorsten Hanf, head of enterprise operations at Tipico. “We can use the AWS APIs, and we can use all we have in code; we just need to make some small adjustments. We don’t need to rewrite everything, because we have it in code. So we are fully living the infrastructure-as-code procedure.”

Creating a Hybrid Architecture on AWS

Tipico had a tight time line for its US expansion. It sent AWS the specifications for its data center, such as what it needed for compute power and storage, and its 8-kW power consumption limit. AWS reviewed the specifications and began setup, starting with network layout. “The setup phase was really smooth,” says Hanf. “We were under pressure to get it done quickly.” Tipico engineers were guided by AWS teams throughout the whole process. And during the COVID-19 pandemic, when Tipico engineers couldn’t travel to the United States for an onsite visit in New Jersey, AWS managed the project.

Using AWS Outposts and a colocation provider, Tipico was able to set up the environment for the US market 5–10 times faster due to the reuse of existing terraform code from the AWS system in Europe. Beyond accelerating the deployment of Tipico’s stateside applications, AWS managed the entire build, delivery, installation, and testing process until AWS Outposts was activated for Tipico to use. By migrating its New Jersey services to AWS Outposts, Tipico can run its applications using the same infrastructure, APIs, services, and tools it uses in AWS Regions in Europe. This capability has enabled it to expand to the United States with minimal change to its operations.

AWS Outposts also helped Tipico increase security for customers: there is a lower chance of error because engineers operate on AWS, not on AWS Outposts directly. “I’m still writing code that is calling AWS endpoints to perform a certain function,” explains Szychowski. “The managed service that I’m using is the same. The fact that it’s located on AWS Outposts is just one parameter in the code. The beauty is its simplicity compared to a self-managed stack at the colocation. You reuse the code, and you have fewer bugs. Failed compliance and security issues often occur simply because someone misconfigured something. We are benefiting from the convergence of different pieces of AWS.” On AWS Outposts, onboarding new team members has become faster and more secure. Engineers can apply their experience from existing AWS workloads. Because they no longer need 1–2 weeks to adapt to a project, they can hit the ground running.

Being on AWS gives Tipico seamless scalability: now when the company needs more compute power, it simply spins up more instances rather than waiting 3 weeks to receive new costly hardware that sits unused during downtime. “With autoscaling, we can scale up in peak times, which definitely helps our customers,” says Szychowski. “If you have a load spike and the infrastructure is at its limit, the response times for the customer get higher. On AWS, we can tackle these load peaks easier and faster. So the customer always has the same app experience in low load periods and high load periods.” Now Tipico delivers a bet slip to a customer through its mobile app in 150 ms, whereas it used to take 400–500 ms on its legacy on-premises data center. This is a 300 percent improvement in response time, and Tipico has seen correlated customer satisfaction.

Finding New Markets and Acquiring New Customers on AWS

Now Tipico plans to expand to other US markets. With the agility of AWS Outposts and infrastructure as code on AWS, the company estimates that it will only take 3–4 weeks to spin up new infrastructure and go live in new markets.

Though faced with strict government regulations, Tipico was able to rapidly and compliantly enter and expand in the US market using AWS Outposts while optimizing costs, simplifying its architecture, and gaining the agility for future rapid expansion. “One of the reasons we decided to go all in on AWS Outposts is the experience we have using AWS,” says Hanf. “We had great support from the entire AWS team. In working with such a large and global company, it’s satisfying to know we are actively heard. Our challenges and suggestions are often solved by the near-future releases.”


About Tipico

Founded in 2004, Tipico is one of the leading gaming operators in Germany and a top gaming operator worldwide. Serving seven million customers, it offers safe, secure digital and mobile betting entertainment across 30 sports.

Benefits of AWS

  • Entered US market 5–10x faster on AWS Outposts than with traditional on-premises data center.
  • Reduced bet slip process time from 400–500 ms to 150 ms.       
  • Onboards engineers to a new project the same day instead of in 1–2 weeks.
  • Maintained compliance with US regulations.
  • Optimized time.

AWS Services Used

AWS Outposts

AWS Outposts is a fully managed service that offers the same AWS infrastructure, AWS services, APIs, and tools to virtually any datacenter, co-location space, or on-premises facility for a truly consistent hybrid experience.

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