TVG chief executive officer Kip Levin

TVG chief executive officer Kip Levin

Betfair Photo

TVG: Systems Failure 'Won't Happen Again'

Major ADW crashed about 90 minutes before May 7 Kentucky Derby.

TVG, a leading advance deposit wagering provider, said human error was responsible for a May 7 systems breakdown that halted online wagering for more than two hours during the running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).

The Derby at Churchill Downs went off at about 6:50 p.m. EDT. The system crashed at about 5:30 p.m. and, according to Twitter posts by TVG, was reactivated at about 8:15 p.m.

In an email sent to customers at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday night, TVG chief executive officer Kip Levin offered an apology. The ADW company is owned by Great Britain-based Betfair, which in the coming week will launch online exchange wagering in New Jersey; TVG is the only ADW provider allowed to take bets from New Jersey residents.

"At TVG, we know how important it is to provide a great experience to our wagering account-holders, not only on the First Saturday in May, but every day," Levin said in his email. "Today, plain and simple, we let many of you down, and we're sorry.

"We build our products to handle enormous amounts of volume and have committed significant time and resources to accommodate a growing customer base. This year in particular, we took unprecedented measures to ensure a great experience for our customers. Regretfully, due to human error, we introduced today's problem during a final readiness check. This won't happen again."

Levin said TVG will ensure its systems are ready for the spring and summer racing season.

TVG's wagering hub is located in Oregon. According to Oregon Racing Commission statistics, TVG last year handled $266 million in the second quarter, which includes the Kentucky Derby. It was the company's best quarter of 2015, and its second-quarter handle was second only to that of TwinSpires.com, the Churchill Downs Inc.-owned ADW that also has its hub in Oregon.

CDI reported pari-mutuel handle on the Kentucky Derby day program of 14 races was the second-highest in history at $192.6 million, and only 1% off the record set in 2015, when 13 races were run. Clearly it could have been higher if not for the TVG systems failure.

Meanwhile, TwinSpires.com may have picked up some new customers in advance of the Derby given its handle report. CDI said total wagering of $26.8 million on Churchill Downs races May 7 was up 29% from 2015, and betting on the Derby itself through the online wagering system was $16.6 million, up 22% from 2015.

Despite reports of a few glitches, CDI in a May 8 statement said the TwinSpires.com website and app "remained up and active during the 2016 Kentucky Oaks and Derby. Post-Derby tickets took a few extra minutes longer than usual to process given the huge load, but wagering, video, and deposits remained available continuously even during that time. All winning Derby tickets were paid out within a few minutes."