DIGITAL technology is set to transform this year’s Melbourne Cup with more people turning to mobile devices than ever in a bid to back a winner.
Up to 100,000 racegoers are expected at Flemington Racecourse on Saturday when Derby Day kicks off the four-day Cup Carnival in style.
But new figures suggest the amount of people trackside will be dwarfed by race fans logging online to place their bets, read form guides and compare odds across multiple bookmakers.
Punters.com.au founder and chief executive Luc Pettett said more than one million people would log onto that site alone in the 48 hours around the race that stops a nation.
And 62 per cent would access the website from a mobile phone as the sports betting habits of Australians change in the digital era.
“Whereas once you had to go to the effort of going to a betting shop or a betting ring to place your bets it’s all about having access to the most valuable information on the go now,’’ he said.
“Wagering is growing at a pretty significant rate but the real move is to mobile betting … people want a more convenient product.’’
Sportsbet estimates 80 per cent of its users bet on a mobile device.
William Hill estimates 90 per cent of bets take place 10 minutes before a race but for the Melbourne Cup they are made much further in advance.
Betting giant TAB, which has a monopoly on betting shopfronts in Victoria, is also pushing hard into the tech world with a new digital commissions program launched this week.
Geo-fencing technology in every Victorian TAB, including pubs and clubs, will give a share of the commission from people using a mobile device to the venue.
TAB last year reported a 12 per cent growth in digital traffic and expects a similar rise this year and has rolled out online form guides to 200 venues and customers.
Tabcorp chief David Attenborough said digital betting was increasingly popular, with more customers transacting by their mobile device, as they do for banking or shopping.
“Our focus is on combining our retail and digital worlds to offer customers an integrated betting experience that is market leading,’’ he said.
Punters.com.au, owned by News Limited, publisher of the Herald Sun, anticipates 250,000 people will use its race predictor on Cup Day as well as its odds comparison service.
CrownBet chief executive Matt Tripp said customers had never had more choice and were increasingly turning to technology at the track.
“For us to win the battle against the foreign-owned bookmakers, we’ve invested heavily in developing the best-in-class wagering platform and apps, offering the best odds and promotions,’’ he said.