How Finland’s national betting agency changed their infrastructure in order to handle their Big Data efficiently

Collecting data for a better customer knowledge and service

Veikkaus is Finland's national betting agency, owned by the Finnish government and exclusively licensed to conduct legal betting on 20 different games, including the national lottery and sports. Managed by the Ministry of Education, Veikkaus has annual turnover over €1500 milloin annually and earns well over €500 million, with proceeds allocated for the arts, sports, science, and youth work. Veikkaus is a company with a special mission. We want people to play our games safely and with moderation. Thereby, Veikkaus has a dual role in providing legal gambling while ensuring responsible gaming including protecting citizens from spending too much on gaming.

Veikkaus primary need was to implement real-time analytics system to better understand the behavior and patterns of their target market, which is 75% of all Finns over 18 years old at least once a year. Among other things, they needed to run their SAS-based analytics on a fast, reliable platform.

Primary challenges
  • Prior Oracle system unable to scale to current needs
  • Unable to provide analysis in real time
  • Need to handle a modern analytics environment, with ability to handle granular data, not just aggregated data

As a response to these challenges the requirements of the project came down to that they needed data storage, which can receive data from multiple sources, store them, report and analyse in real time. This needed to be a continuous delivery, available 24/7 with a minimum level of maintenance while being cost effective scalable and spontaneously adaptable to business requirements. The main purpose for collecting the data was to achieve Veikkaus goals for a better customer knowledge and service. 

The whole process was divided in three phases

The first phase was the need for a consultant to dig out their challenges in which needed change and what their data warehouse infrastructure should be like.

The second phase was to match the technology with the case. In this case, Vertica was the obvious choice even though it was not very well known in Finland at the time.

“Vertica was not on the radar for Veikkaus at the beginning of this project. We have been working with Veikkaus for several years as a supplier. We were able to get Vertica onto their short list, which was part of the victory.” says Heikki Hamalainen, Sales Director, Eficode.

The objective of the project was to fulfill Veikkaus need of their data storing and reporting to match their future needs. The existing infrastructure did not allow them to get necessary information in real time. Therefore, the goal was to create a solution which incorporated their Big Data with faster reporting, analysis and usage of the business information. With the new technologies such as Hadoop, Vertica and Pentaho ETL one managed to build a powerful and scalable environment.

The third phase was implementing all of this in order to meet the needs of Veikkaus.

Veikkaus as a first-mover within the gaming industry

Veikkaus was using Hadoop as a ‘landing area’ for incoming data. Pentaho is implemented for ETL, and HP Vertica as the center, serving the needs of the data warehouse. Veikkaus collects data in Hadoop, and simultaneously collects a portion of data in Vertica for real-time analytics.

“This is almost a textbook example of modern architecture for Big Data analytics”,

says Juha Lanki, Technical Sales Manager, Eficode.

They moved off Oracle as they began their move to Big Data. Unlike many other organizations, Veikkaus is not secretive in how they are using Vertica. Further, this is also the first time in all of Finland that a total renewal of legacy EDW architecture to a very modern Big Data architecture have been done.

“The Eficode consultants were very competent and helped us a lot. Now we have a spotless and working Vertica database, which serve our reporting and data analysis. The main benefits we are getting from the data is the insights on how our customers play our games and their behavior on our websites.”,

Elina Leppänen, IT Design Manager, Veikkaus

For more information, contact:

Paula Räisänen

Data Analyst

paula.raisanen@eficode.com +358 (0) 50 339 9282