Fingers burnt by fiddling with the system for no good reason

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 June, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 June, 2008, 12:00am

It would not have been pretty at Monday's meetings at Sports Road after the online betting debacle of the Sunday Sha Tin meeting, and rightly so.

That the problems with eWin likely cost the Jockey Club 'only HK$30 million' in turnover would not have been the trend of the discussion as 'only' isn't normally the prefix that chief executive Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges uses for talking about betting turnover.

The biggest off-course players do not use the unsophisticated eWin website access to place bets - it is simple, bread and butter stuff without the complexity to be of much use to punters laying out arrays of bets.

eWin is intended for small players looking for convenience and simplicity, and therefore doesn't carry as large a slice of betting as the Customer Input Terminals. Which is just as well or the 'only' would have had a much larger number following it.

But eWin is part of the club's customer service platform with reasonable expectations that, some day, it would become more versatile and carry a larger volume of turnover.

And in that customer service regard it was a day of failure for the many horseplayers as convenience and simplicity vanished to be replaced by frustration and annoyance.

And for what? There may have been changes in the background to the service known and understood only by the odd computer boffin or two, but to the user it appeared a completely cosmetic change. A few fonts changed, a few colour displays, but no change to the actual workings of the site - with the sole exception of becoming exceptionally slow. And the timing of any change coming with the end of the season in sight - at which time they can tinker with the system for two months and upset no-one - beggars belief.

The only good news is that the Jockey Club has assured us eWin will be returned to last week's version for tomorrow night's meeting at Happy Valley.

eLoss for eWin

The cost of Sunday's online betting debacle (in HK$) to the Jockey Club's coffers: 30m