Racing: TAB probes crash as punters fume

By Michael Guerin

The greatest concern is that the system problems rear their heads on the biggest days. Photo / 123RF
The greatest concern is that the system problems rear their heads on the biggest days. Photo / 123RF

There is good and bad news for punters furious over the TAB's website crash on the biggest day of the season so far.

The good news is the TAB is committed to improving their online betting capacity as it becomes the platform more than 50 per cent of customers use.

The bad news is the system crash which left punters struggling to get late Pick6 bets on could well have come down to simple overloading, which obviously means the biggest days are those most at threat of a problem.

The TAB say they are investigating exactly how their system crashed on Saturday but have pointed out the day was busier than expected.

"We are working with our website vendors to investigate the root cause of the issue which on an initial analysis appears to be connected to the very high volumes of website traffic on Saturday," says Racing Board general manager of customers, Gary Woodham. "A great day's racing combined with a massive Pick6 and miserable weather keeping people at home watching TAB Trackside all seem to have combined to lift punting to heights usually only seen on days like Melbourne Cup and Boxing Day."

Woodham says as more customer head online there is a need to continue to invest to support that growth.

But the greatest concern, for both the TAB and punters, is that the system problems rear their heads on the biggest days, with Derby Day at Ellerslie and Melbourne Cup Day in 2014 among those affected by crashes in recent years.

While the problems are understandable with so much betting traffic heading online, the reality is punters don't care about the TAB's problems, they simply want to get their bets on.

The Pick6 was guaranteed to $300,000 on Saturday and blew past $700,000 but one can only wonder what it would have reached without the website problems.

And disgruntled punters will also point to the end of the phonebet service which for many has compounded the problem, with only the very brave or experienced likely to even attempt taking a Pick6 using TouchTone.

Problems aside interest in the Pick6 will have heartened TAB bosses as there was more invested on Saturday than in some of the pools guaranteed to $1 million in the past.

The momentum will continue this week with both tomorrow and Friday night's harness Pick6s guaranteed to $150,000.

- NZ Herald

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