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Sportech - next generation online betting platform

Creation of a next generation multi-tenant Horse Racing betting system hosted by one of the biggest players in the betting industry.

Sportech PLC – A world betting leader

Sportech PLC is a world leader in the betting industry in the United States. Their main strategy is to invest in the continuous evolution of the offered services, including their digital betting platform. Starting from the production of mechanical machines in the early 20th century that were able to accurately tabulate race odds (so-called “totalisators“), through computerized totalisator systems, to online betting platforms integrated with other services provided, Sportech follows a vision to be a key player in the betting industry. Digital services and providing a unique user experience are the keys to success. Sportech provides technology and service solutions for gaming companies, sports teams, charitable foundations, and lotteries. Collaboration with CrustLab was initiated by Scott Watterson, Director of Digital Development in Sportech PLC.

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Sportech online betting platform challenges

The main challenge of this project was creation of the next generation of their betting system. CrustLab created a new version of the web and mobile applications, changing the system’s backend architecture and technology stack. The previous version of the betting platform did not achieve satisfactory performance and barely attracted new users due to the huge technological debt and obsolete design of its UX and UI. The online betting app needed a refresh to change this. Unfortunately, due to the debt, adding new functionalities seemed to be time-consuming and very expensive. The best solution was to take a step back, rewrite the application code, and run a refreshed version of the online betting platform that was richer in a number of new functionalities as well as flexible enough to add new features in a quick and cheap way. The new design was intended not only to improve the user experience and performance of the applications, but also to position the company as a technological leader in the world of horse racing betting.

After about a year of cooperation and completion of the first part of our contract, many new challenges arose. Both their iOS and Android apps had to be rewritten to adjust to the latest UI/UX patterns and the new backend API. CrustLab advised Sportech to create native solutions for both platforms.

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How we built an online betting platform

Sportech PLC asked CrustLab to create the next generation of their offered Web UI. After checking the system we decided to rewrite the backend part of it and apply newer, performant solutions. We redesigned the database architecture and redefined the user experience as well. We also added new functionalities including new payment methods, new bet types, improvements to the embedded wallet, an extensive reporting system (analytical tools for Sportech and stats of wins and losses for end customers), plus notifications to protect users against gambling addiction in accordance with the responsible gambling initiative. Later, we also created a new version of the offered mobile application, reusing the backend we created.

The features implemented as a part of the new and improved version of the platform, with the Web interface as the primary change visible to end-users, have been completely transferred to native Android and iOS mobile applications. The new backend ensures their better performance. One of the key points in the scope of work was the extension of these mobile apps with the feature of direct connection with standalone terminals guaranteed thanks to QR code scanners. By having the mobile, app users can log in to the terminal on a horse racing track and manage their account and wallet, as well as place bets.

We created a dedicated admin panel that allows Sportech’s customers to apply any modifications to the login screen of the app, making their brands unique despite the fact that all the clients use exactly the same application connected to the created SaaS platform.

Custom advertising banners displayed at various places in the app offered a new monetization channel with everything managed from one, common administration panel.

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Results

We created a flexible betting platform. Sportech PLC is now able to freely develop and tune functionalities, layout, and features based on the specific demands of their clients. Despite the fact that the application was created with the US market in mind, it is also adapted to other locations, e.g. Scandinavia.

The changes had a huge impact on the application’s performance. The most important results worth noting are: 0 faults in production during the Triple Crown racing series, mean session time increased from 16 to 24 minutes, the number of weekly sessions per user increased by 241% since the system was first deployed, and the mean time needed to place a bet on mobiles reduced by 40%.

The newly created mobile applications were very warmly received by the available reviewers. A simplified betting experience, custom odds preview, plus a configurable preview of active runners and available bet types made the app unique and user friendly.

With a redesigned system CMS, Sportech and its customers are able to toggle features and customize the product in a pleasant and intuitive way on both web and mobile platforms. The previous, offensive approach of configuration checking has been replaced with a performant mechanism that makes it possible to apply changes to the user interface in milliseconds instead of minutes or hours.
Both Sportech PLC employees and users of their betting platform confirm that the new application design is clear and more pleasant to use than the previous one.

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