Irish betting behemoth Paddy Power is giving out a free bet to customers after its website crashed for 20 minutes just before the Grand National horse race on Saturday.
Sheer traffic on the day sent the site falling at the first fence and only getting its legs again 15 minutes before the race. Some punters told The Reg they weren't able to log in to get their winnings just after the race either.
The gambling nirvana sent out a missive to all its customers offering the free bet and apologising for its website's fail.
The email read:
Having offered 5 Places on the Grand National, we experienced the busiest day in our history with unprecedented numbers of customers placing their National bet with Paddy Power. Unfortunately, in the run up to the race, we experienced some technical issues which meant that many of our customers were unable to access our site.
After a very busy Cheltenham we were very confident that we were well prepared to handle Grand National Saturday, which is always the busiest day of the year for us. While most of our customers were able to get their bet on the race some were unsuccessful and this is not the level of service that we strive to deliver."
A Paddy Power spokesperson said that the free bet was a goodwill gesture and the betting group was happy to give it to its customers, but added that most people had gotten their bet on because the site was back a quarter of an hour before the race.
Having a flutter on the Grand National is something of a British and Irish tradition, even for those who aren't usually the betting kind, and with both economies in the doldrums, there were probably more gamblers than ever.
However the race has come in for a lot of criticism for the height of the fences and the number of riders, both pointed to as the reason for the frequent horse deaths. This year, two horses, including the hot favourite Synchronised, died out of the 22 who fell at the fences. Last year, four horses were fatally injured. ®