Down by 16 points with 9 minutes left in an NBA playoff game in May, the Los Angeles Clippers faced 57-to-1 odds and a 1.7 percent chance of defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder. The odds were so steep that if you had bet $25 on the Clippers winning, at that exact moment, you would have won $1,425. But is that a bet you would’ve been willing to take given how much the odds were stacked against you?
These are the kinds of real-time assessments that gamblers make all of the time. They absorb all of the information they can about an event, whether it’s the past history of competitors, external factors like weather, or just intangibles and “gut feel,” before making a decision.
Now, imagine if you had tried to bet $25 on the Clippers using your mobile betting app, but you couldn’t get the request to go through. Whether due to poor bandwidth or the fact that 100,000 other fans may be trying to do the exact same thing at that moment, you would feel cheated out of your $1,425 windfall and would probably never use that app again.
Service interruptions are always frustrating to mobile app users, but particularly to gamblers where a few seconds lag could mean the difference between debt and profit. And, ultimately, for the app provider, it could mean poor user reviews and lost business.
But what if the mobile betting app incorporated intelligent data distribution and data recovery on the backend? It would not only be able to cope with the speed and scale expected of real-time betting, but would allow users to lock in their bets with time to spare. Mobile betting apps equipped with such technology are able to maintain high quality of service so that providers can meet the needs of their customers with more reliable and responsive apps.
A gambler’s need for speed
Gamblers rely on speed and relevant information because their money depends on it. They require access to dynamic, real-time odds and the relevant news, scores and statistics they need to keep their competitive edge.
Take horse racing. About 50,000 horse races are run each year, and Derby Jackpot is one online betting provider that gives gamblers an opportunity to place a bet on a race every few minutes. It provides bettors with fluctuating odds and the option to change their bets right up until the start of each race. But if gamblers didn’t have instant access to that changing information, their bets could be negatively impacted. For example, a sudden rainstorm could alter track conditions, causing gamblers to want to change their lineup. But, if Derby Jackpot’s mobile platform was slow to load or update, users would miss out on that intel — and potentially their winnings, too.
Since 78 percent of all mobile users expect mobile apps to load as fast as, or faster than a mobile website, it’s clear that developers need to look at ways to improve the speed of their mobile gambling apps or risk losing customers.
But, what’s just as important as speed for improving app performance is scalability. This ensures that when user volume increases, that speedy performance stays intact – even for major events like the Kentucky Derby horse race, or this year’s World Cup in Brazil.
Scalability: worth its weight in gold
Billions are expected to be spent by gamblers at the 2014 World Cup, either on favorites like Brazil or this year’s underdogs (Belgium, Ivory Coast or Columbia, according to sources). In the U.S. alone, World Cup ratings jumped 41 percent from 2006 to 2010, with more than 24 million American viewers tuning in to watch the final match on ABC and Univision – and the trend is only expected to increase for 2014.
Mobile betting apps need to be able to scale to handle the potentially millions of gambling interactions occurring simultaneously worldwide during the World Cup, without sacrificing speed or performance. And, this is becoming increasingly important with the level of in-play betting that has become possible. No longer are people simply placing wagers on the ultimate outcome of the game. Instead, they can make real-time bets for everything from the next goal or throw in to the next yellow card or corner kick – that is, if their app is able to keep up!
And, for those who are in Rio de Janeiro to watch the games live, this concern is amplified by the unreliability of networks when they experience high traffic. With everyone potentially updating their bets at the same time, users may experience service interruptions and slow loading times, which could prevent World Cup fans from placing their bets altogether, let alone in real time.
Ante up with smarter app development
Given these speed and scalability concerns, it’s important for mobile betting app developers to pick up the slack. This means adopting back-end application technology that allows for intelligent data distribution across any network, platform or device. With the latest advancements, apps can send only the deltas, or changed data, so that the messages are smaller and developers can achieve greater throughput.
What’s more, with intelligent data recovery, in the event of a connectivity outage, the data sent over the network will only include the most relevant data that was lost during the lapse, combining it into one message.
So, using the World Cup example, if a user was disconnected from their betting app and Brazil scored one goal and then another, as long as the app included intelligent data recovery technology, it could group those updates into one message alerting the user that two goals were scored instead of sending two separate messages for each individual goal. This, combined with the delta data delivery, not only improves performance and throughput over unreliable networks, but also reduces the back-end infrastructure involved to support the app.
Mobile betting apps that respond quickly and perform well at scale, and ultimately deliver returns to gamblers, will quickly become user favorites. An app alone doesn’t guarantee the user will remain in the black, of course, but a poorly designed one will sink their chances of a payout and lead to lost customers. This means that intelligent data distribution and recovery are the safest wagers a mobile betting app developer can make.
Sean Bowen is the co-founder and CEO of Push Technology. Stemming from his experience in the highly technological and latency-driven financial services market, Sean saw an opportunity to revolutionize the way businesses use data. He launched Push Technology in 2006 to help organizations realize the full potential of the Internet in achieving fast, scalable and efficient data distribution solutions.