Bookmakers hit by technical issues during Cheltenham Festival

Various bookmakers that offered online betting services to punters in the UK for this year’s Cheltenham Festival horse racing event suffered technical errors due to high demand, according to Capacitas, a company that specialises in preventing websites from crashing.

Research from Capacitas showed that during the period around the showpiece Gold Cup race on the final day of the event, William Hill’s website took almost three seconds to load.

Capacitas said that the conversion rate of a website degrades when page load time exceeds two seconds.

Bet365 on two seconds and Betfair at 1.7 seconds were also close to exceeding the threshold during the period, although Coral (0.3 seconds) and Paddy Power (0.2 seconds) were able to cope with the additional website traffic.

“When a website slows or even crashes, it loses customers to its rivals – especially for time-sensitive events like horse races,” Capacitas director Danny Quilton said:

“Our monitoring found that three of the leading bookies had websites that were operating slowly because of the increase in demand during Friday’s Cheltenham Gold Cup.

“In contrast Paddy Power was the winner by more than a clear length, over 10 times faster than most of its rivals, and Coral performed well across the afternoon, too.”

Gold Cup Day also proved to be the second worst day of the event in terms of bookmakers making money, losing an average of 15 pence per bet on the day.

According to data from, the opening day of the Festival was the most successful for bookmakers, making a profit of 41 pence from an average bet of £13.20.

This was followed by a profit of 38 pence per bet from an average bet of £13.30 on day two, but day three was the least successful for bookmakers, which made a loss of £2.30 per bet from an average stake of £19.20.

Jesper Søgaard, chief executive and co-founder of Better Collective, developer of, said: “At, we go to great lengths to provide punters with the tools to enjoy success when they have a flutter.

“Our in-depth analysis of the Cheltenham Festival shows that, with the right information and a bit of luck on your side, there is always an opportunity to get one over on the bookies.”

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