Data centre fire 'likely' behind TAB's weekend-long outage

Tabcorp said there is no evidence of any potential cybersecurity issues or customer data breaches.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

If there was anything to highlight the obsession Australia has with horse racing, it wasn't the euthanasia of Anthony Van Dyck during Tuesday's Melbourne Cup, it was the downing of servers in a data centre used by Tabcorp over the weekend.

At around lunchtime on Saturday, punters across the country were frantically attempting to get their stakes day fix when reports of TAB systems being down at pubs, clubs, agencies, and online began pouring in.

All TAB services, run by Tabcorp, went down at approximately 11:30am AEDT.

"Our wagering facilities are currently unavailable due to a system issue. We are working hard to get this fixed as soon as possible," TAB wrote on Twitter at 12:44pm AEDT.

Several race meetings, including Rose Hill, were pushed back as authorities awaited TAB to come back online, but the Morphettville races in Adelaide, South Australia, decided to abandon the nine-race card and shift it to Monday.

"Apologies for a major technical issue that has resulted in continued outages today. It is understood to have been caused by major power failure at an external data centre which houses Tabcorp servers. We're continuing to deploy all resources on the restoration of full service," it added on Sunday at 10:34am AEDT.

In a statement on Monday morning, Tabcorp said services had now largely been restored with an "immediate focus on ensuring the systems return to optimal service levels in coming days".

The company said based on a preliminary assessment, a smoke and likely fire incident at a third-party managed data centre in Sydney resulted in extensive damage to Tabcorp's servers and associated infrastructure.

Tabcorp said this led to technical and systems outages, as well as the closure of TAB retail venues. Tabcorp has commenced a comprehensive and urgent review into this incident, which will be overseen by the board.

Tabcorp said at this stage, there is no evidence of any potential cybersecurity issues or customer data breaches.

It was reported by racing-focused Racenet that Saturday's TAB blackout would have caused about AU$100 million in lost betting turnover and AU$7-10 million in what would have been fed back to the racing industry.

Tabcorp said it is expecting lost wagering turnover to have impacted its EBITDA by around AU$10 million.

"The outage was unacceptable," Tabcorp managing director and CEO David Attenborough said. "Our teams and technology partners are continuing to deploy all available resources into restoring the full Tabcorp gambling entertainment experience for our customers and partners."

TAB is still paying out winnings from successful bets placed before the outage.

If you or anyone you know needs assistance with beating problem gambling, please reach out to Gambling Help Online Australia by visiting their website or calling 1800 858 858.


Editorial standards