Following Monday’s technical issues with TAB, SP poster Brendan asked what was going on with the TOTE?
Is Phumelela going to explain:
1) What happen or why the tote had a meltdown on Monday, 5 August 2019, for the better part of the day?
2) Who is responsible for this recurring problem?
3) Why were the tote dividends and pools conveniently adjusted after the races were run?
4) Can their ageing IT system infrastructure handle new betting options to the “betting menu”?
5) Why is the tote not operating on an online real time basis? This should have happened decades ago?
6) What is the targeted pool for “Roulette”? The current pools that ranges between a few hundred rand. SURELY this is indicative of a failed product.
7) What market studies and research was performed by Phumelela before launching the Roulette product?
8) What research and market studies were performed by Phumelela for the “Daily Double” product, that convinced them that the appetite for this product would exceed the current demand on double bets on all races carded locally?
10) Is Phumelela promoting that their double punters must rather go to bookmakers to take their double bets once the Daily Double is launched? STRANGE
My suggestions to Phumelela include:
1) Keep the current double on every race – It works and there is sufficient market depth for the product?
2) Kill the Roulette – its marketing has failed and the turnovers are embarrassing.
3) Do not innovate a “Daily WIN bet” for punters by nominating one race on the card for such a bet type at the expense of dropping the Win bet on all other races on the card! If you don’t see the logic in this then scrap your “Daily Double” product before you launch it.
Phumelela responded officially as follows on Wednesday 7 August:
Following an extensive software upgrade to the Amtote betting system on Sunday night 4 August into Monday morning 5 August, issues were first detected with delays to the display of tote odds on Australian races early on Monday.
Software issues multiplied through Monday morning, which affected inbound and outbound commingling, cash betting at retail outlets and online and telephone account betting.
Both primary and secondary back-up on-site and off-site systems were affected and proved very unstable.
The Phumelela IT team and Amtote International software developers worked round the clock from early Monday morning to restore full functionality and the remaining software problems were resolved at about 03:00 on Tuesday 6 August.
The new software was tested extensively from July last year. Unfortunately, the tests did not give any indication of the issues that arose on Monday, which by no stretch of the imagination can be termed “the recurring problem” as stated in your query.
The betting system functioned normally through Tuesday 6 August and will be closely monitored while Amtote completes an investigation into the root cause of the software malfunction.
TAB apologises to all customers inconvenienced by the system failure and is totally committed to improving all aspects of its product and service offering into the future.
As regards Racing Roulette, TAB launched the bet on a trial basis in January following Santa Anita Racecourse in California introducing the concept last year.
TAB’s primary target market with Racing Roulette was occasional racegoers and punters on major racedays, but unfortunately the bet has failed to gain traction in any market segment and will be discontinued.
Going forward TAB will continue to launch/trial new bets and seek ways of enlivening and simultaneously rationalising its menu of bets.
This is critical given that tote turnovers are dropping and that there is general consensus that there are too many bets, especially on horseracing. An excess of betting choices ultimately erodes the critical mass of pools and in turn the integrity of payouts, which for obvious reasons must be prevented.
Rolling Doubles have resulted in the Double, once a popular feature on TAB’s betting menu, losing much of its identity and appeal. Rolling Doubles currently account for only some 1% of turnover with pools averaging less than R5,000.
Replacing the R1-unit Rolling Double on South African races with a R6-unit Daily Double on South African and selected international race meetings, is an attempt to re-energise the Double while simultaneously reducing the total number of bets.
To suggest that dropping the Rolling Double on consecutive races will drive TAB customers to take their doubles with fixed-odds operators is spurious, given TAB operates an All-To-Come bet, which enables customers to take doubles, trebles etc on races of their choice, consecutive or not.
Ed – thanks to Phumelela for responding promptly to the query