Recently acquired online betting provider Centrebet has deployed an application integration server to bring together its frequently updated in-house systems with cloud services.
Centrebet spent the past eight months and about $450,000 to deploy a Microsoft BizTalk server.
The project had been on its radar for two years before it commenced, chief information officer Stefan Matthews said.
Together with Sydney integrator Breeze, Centrebet linked its four-year-old OpenBet core betting platform, third-party data feeds and certain new in-house products with the BizTalk server.
BizTalk also connected in-house systems with Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform, which hosted graphs, betting summaries and other data for Centrebet’s Racing Microsite.
Matthews described the project as Centrebet’s “first step to a much broader integration framework into the future”.
He explained that the bookmaker used third-party data to calculate odds and to detect money laundering activities. It also performed some 11 software upgrades each year.
“For us, the broader issue was that we needed to have a more flexible framework in place for the integration of disparate systems,” Matthews said.
“It’s very easy in our world to have pieces of technology as the centre of the universe.”
The goal, Matthews said, was to be able to handle as many as 240 betting requests a second, in line with its November 2010 plan to double its Australian market share to 20 percent.
Centrebet spent between $3 million and $4 million each year on an ‘IT works program’ and an additional $2.5 million on software, he said.
It had four data centres that operated in three jurisdictions around the world, including facilities in Malta and Britain, from where it hosted online casino and British sports betting services respectively.
Australian punters accounted for about half of Centrebet’s customer base and were served from data centres in Sydney and Alice Springs, both bound by Northern Territory regulations.
Matthews said that although cloud computing could allow it to quickly and cheaply meet growing demand, Centrebet needed its core betting platform to remain in its chosen legal jurisdictions.
It was also required to keep customer information in-house, he said, adding that Centrebet had stringent security requirements.
Re-engineering and integration
The BizTalk platform supported Centrebet’s upcoming and recently released products, including “Pick your own line”, which allowed customers to nominate a winner and the difference in scores in a sporting match.
Matthews said Centrebet would re-engineer more of its software for the BizTalk platform over “a number of years”.
Centrebet was delisted from the Australian Stock Exchange last week, when it was acquired by the Australian arm of British e-gaming operator Sportingbet.
In a statement to shareholders on 13 July, Centrebet said Sportingbet had identified “potential synergies achievable in merging its Australian businesses with that of Centrebet”.
“These savings are based on the centralisation of operating functions and infrastructure and reduced information technology development projects,” Centrebet reported, forecasting net synergies of $17 million a year.
“It is anticipated that the enlarged group will move to operate from a single information technology platform.”
Matthews said it was too early to tell how the acquisition would affect Centrebet’s IT environment and spend, as “those decisions haven’t been made”.
“We’re continually enhancing and modifying our systems, and adding new products and services,” he said.
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