Why US Sportsbooks Couldn’t Handle Super Bowl 55 Traffic

Posted on February 8, 2021
US sportsbooks

Regulated US sportsbooks faced their busiest day ever yesterday during the Super Bowl – and they didn’t handle it all that well.

Customers reported outages at regulated books across the country during Super Bowl 55, including:

  • BetMGM in Nevada 
  • FanDuel
  • DraftKings
  • BetRivers
  • Barstool Sportsbook

The last three names are all powered by Kambi and were down in the hour before the game, suggesting the problem originated with the provider. DraftKings said the outage was caused by the massive traffic to its backend provider (Kambi.)

“We’re aware customers were unable to access our mobile and online Sportsbook,” the company said in a statement provided to LSR. “It appears this outage was caused by a surge in traffic that caused problems for our backend provider. Our DFS and pools products, supported by in-house technology, are functioning without issue. This incident is why we believe owning our own technology is important.”

DraftKings of course is planning to move onto its SBTech platform this year. 

Concentrated problem

Kambi said the problem was down to a “significantly high” volume of bets on one specific market.

“One player-related bet had an increased range of outcomes offered especially for the Super Bowl and therefore required higher than normal technical capacity,” a spokesperson said

That resulted in a backlog in the overall bet validation process which subsequently impacted overall performance.

“This specific problem was quickly identified and rectified ahead of kick-off, at which point Kambi processed the highest ever bet volumes in its history,” the company said.

Issues at FanDuel

Meanwhile, FanDuel had issues of its own in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Illinois. Customers were unable to log in and place wagers on the sportsbook platform.

FanDuel does operate on its own technology but has now fallen over multiple times on NFL Sundays in recent weeks. The company said the outages were due to “unprecedented demand” around the game.

A spokesperson added:

“At no time did our platform cease operating and our team worked quickly to restore and stabilize service in the affected markets. “

The app was the third most downloaded in the Apple Store behind only TikTok and Robinhood on Sunday.

BetMGM issues in Nevada

As for BetMGM, the problem was Nevada, perhaps suggesting it was a server issue in the state.

However, it was a pretty major outage. Customers and staff said the whole system was down for several hours during the game. That included the app, kiosks and over the counter. 

A spokesperson said the system was working again shortly after the game was over and the operator was actively processing winning bets.

US sportsbooks need to get better

It’s far from the first time US sportsbook apps have stumbled in big moments. During the NFL season, multiple books dropped during a Thursday night game thanks to a geolocation outage.

On the bright side, the outages around Super Bowl 55 appear to have been caused by massive demand. Nationwide sports betting geolocation pings rose 236% compared to Super Bowl weekend last year.

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Brad Allen

Brad has been covering the online gambling industry in Europe and the US for more than four years, most recently as the news editor at EGR Global.

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