Power Surge Knocks Down TAB’s Computer System and Affects Race Meetings across Australia

Michael Kruse / 12 November 2020

Horse racing events across Australia have been affected by a TAB computer system failure on arguably the biggest betting weekend of the year.

Millions of dollars worth of bets didn’t reach their final destination due to a “major technical issue” and several high profile race meetings were postponed as a result.

The failure, that the TAB betting software encountered at around 11.30 am this Saturday, meant horse racing enthusiasts who wanted to place wagers during the weekend had to do so only on fixed priced odds offered by corporate online bookies such as Sportsbet and Ladbrokes.

Huge Losses

It is estimated that punters and bookmakers have lost millions of dollars during the now-infamous failed betting weekend. The losses in turnover that betting providers suffered, and TAB, in particular, will be assessed in greater detail later this week.

However, for now, it seems like Australia’s horse betting operators have missed out on the biggest betting event of the year, and they will need some time to calculate how much betting revenue they lost during the weekend.

Postponed Races

Races around Australia were also cancelled or postponed as a result of the betting software failure. Race organizers hoped that the software glitches would be fixed, so they decided to delay several race meetings for later times and dates.

For instance, Morphettville in South Australia was stopped after only two races and was then rescheduled for Monday, with organizers hoping that things would become better by then.

Similarly, at Flemington, the meeting was delayed after race four. The feature event in Melbourne was postponed and then rescheduled for 5.45 pm AEST.

The VRC tweeted that they decided together with Racing Victoria stewards to push back race five and all races afterwards by one race in the hope that the TAB outage would soon be fixed.

Something similar happened at Geelong, where Victoria’s country meeting was delayed by one race too. Organizers did this so that they could give TAB more time to get things sorted as well.

A Power Surge Caused the Outage

At first, it was unclear what made the system fail, but Tabcorp officials soon revealed the cause for the failure. It was a major power surge.

In a statement, Tabcorp informed the public that they have been aware of the issue and that it was caused by a major power surge at one of their external data centres housing Tabcorp’s servers.

David Attenborough, Tabcorp’s chief executive, apologized to punters, as well as racing venues and organizers for the issues they experienced, and said that he was disappointed that they couldn’t offer their customers the chance to bet on the weekend’s race meetings.

He felt particularly sorry for letting down all those who were eagerly anticipating their Flemington and Rosehill Gardens bets for weeks if not months.

Mr Attenborough concluded his statement by saying that Tabcorp appreciated the help and support they got from their racing industry partners, including those that agreed to push back their race meetings’ start times.

Punters Could Bet On Track or at Rival Bookmakers

However, not all punters had a miserable horse racing weekend. Those bettors who were able to get to Rosehill could bet on the on-course betting system and place their wagers there. The on-track betting system is not connected to TAB’s main servers and it operates independently from Tabcorp’s central computer system.

Aussie punters who decided to take their horse racing wagers to rival corporate bookmakers were unaffected by the software failure too.

Betting enthusiasts who placed fixed-odds wagers at bookmakers such as Sportsbet and Ladbrokes had their bets accepted, and if they won, they also received their winnings. However, some of the winnings punters got took a little longer to complete as most race results are connected to the TAB betting system.

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Michael Kruse
Michael loves all things all horse racing and has been in the game for quite some time. His knowledge in the betting space is second... [Read full bio]

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