Melbourne Cup has traditionally been a day to get dressed up and head to your closest pub, bar, or television screen to watch the race that stops the nation with friends and colleagues. This year, Australians experienced the event in completely new ways due to the pandemic. Instead of making bets in person or showing up to glamourous events in large crowds, the event was held in a stadium without an audience, and Australians flocked to online platforms to make their bets.
In fact, this year major wagering platforms including Ladbrokes and Neds reported a 42% jump in turnover, and the number of new digital accounts opened with TAB on Melbourne Cup day was 70% higher than Cup day in 2019.
For online bookmakers, while they were not caught completely by surprise by this shift as many punters made the shift to online platforms in the days and weeks leading up to Melbourne Cup, their traditional major revenue-driver for the year presented heightened challenges in terms of customer experience and technology performance. With more Australians eager to bet online than ever before, particularly with many looking forward to light-heartedly enjoying an old past-time during what has been a stressful and tumultuous year, the pressure was high for online betting platforms to deliver smooth onboarding, secure identity verification, and fast transactions.
Reliability never looked so glamourous
Historically, Australians could always bet on Melbourne Cup festivities to deliver the most flamboyant parties and outfits. In 2020 and moving forward, the quality and experiences of betting online were far more important to both businesses and punters.
This year, GBG noted a 27% growth in new sign-ups for Melbourne Cup activities compared to 2019, signalling a significant increase in the volume of transactions and registrations online platforms had to manage throughout the day. The maximum number of registrations during any 15-minute period was also 20% higher this year in comparison to 2019, which again emphasizes the growth in online traffic to the platforms.
Without a high-performing identity verification platform in place, online betting service providers would have exposed their businesses, customers, and technology to a range of risks. For example, platforms that cannot handle sudden peaks in transaction volumes can lead to poor customer experiences, which can lead to reduced conversions and loss of customers, as well as damaged brand reputation.
GBG’s flagship customer onboarding and identity verification product, greenID, performed seamlessly and reliably for the online wagering industry throughout these peaks in traffic and user registrations. As the most reliable identity verification platform for customers seeking high volumes of onboarding and transactions, companies like Sportsbet were equipped to benefit from a 100% increase in turnover and number of bets from the previous year.
While the reliability of technology platforms behind the scenes of these exciting events may not seem like the most entertaining aspect of the day, without them, punters cannot digitally connect to and engage with what is happening on the field. This year, more than any other, this virtual connectivity was critical to keeping the Melbourne Cup community and festivities moving.
Keeping up with the compliance
Regulatory obligations of the wagering industry are constantly changing. It can be challenging for online bookkeepers to keep up with and follow the latest regulation and compliance requirements, particularly during the pandemic this year as they were already challenged with heightened online experience pressures and digital performance needs.
Having a technology platform in place that can flex as needed during busy periods and reliably manage high volumes of onboarding processes is one piece of the puzzle. The shift to online punting introduces new ways and platforms for cybercriminals to commit identity theft or fraud to illegally claim winnings. Consequently, as well as ensuring reliable technology is in place, online wagering companies this year had to have all bases covered to prevent fraud and optimise the efficiency and effectiveness of identity verification processes.
The future of online wagering is here, accelerated by the way the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed consumers to interact and transact online, limiting their opportunities to place bets in person or in large crowds. As punters continue to exercise social distancing and enjoy the flexibility of betting online, reliability, seamless onboarding at scale, and proactive fraud prevention technologies will differentiate the winners from the losers in the race to digital customer acquisition.
Watch Carol Chris, Regional General Manager ANZ, GBG provide an update on online wagering findings for Melbourne Cup on Ticker TV.