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Victor Chandler International (VCI): A Strategic Partnership

Contributed by Laverock von Schoultz
19 August, 2002

Contributed by Laverock von Schoultz www.lvs.co.uk

The Background

The name Victor Chandler is synonymous with the best traditions of British bookmaking. Established in 1947, Three generations of Chandlers built the company up to become the United Kingdom's largest independent bookmaking operation, specialising in prestige client telephone betting.

In 1998 Laverock von Schoultz (LVS) were asked to write a trading system that would automate the taking and settlement of bets. A number of systems already existed, but traditionally these had been written by bookmakers who knew how to program, not by programmers who knew about bookmaking.

Victor Chandler hoped to leverage LVS's experience in writing large scale trading systems for Investment Banks to produce a technically superior solution.

The System

In choosing Oracle as the technical platform in order to allow absolute database scalability, as well as delivering cost-efficient software solutions in almost unfeasibly short periods of time, LVS laid the seeds of a long term relationship.

Over the next few months LVS were contracted to provide technical support to Victor Chandler's London Office, and at the end of 1998 a satellite office was established to support the Client's Gibraltar Operation.

In the Spring of 1999 impending changes in taxation law prompted VCI to draw up a strategic plan that involved the monumental task of moving the UK operation into a new and enlarged call centre in Gibraltar.

The Delivery

LVS were by this time regarded as the safe pair of hands into which responsibility for all technical aspects of this move could be placed. Accordingly, in the space of only four months we progressed from bare concrete floors to a state-of-the-art data centre servicing 300 newly installed Dell workstations over a high speed switched network.

Along the way some forty-eight kilometres of Enhanced UTP cable was laid to over a thousand network sockets, each of which was performance tested. Seven Dell servers communicating over a gigabit fibre backbone were provided to ensure resilient data services.

When live trading began we had the ultimate satisfaction of watching our customers trading on a system we wrote, on PCs we staged, connected via the network we installed to the servers we configured in the data centre we built. And yes, all of this was achieved on time, to specification, and within budget.

The Partnership

Our involvement, however didn't stop there. Today we provide a dedicated on-site team to run all aspects of network, system and hardware support to ensure that the client achieves the maximum benefit from his investment.

This includes the drawing up of formal operating procedures, backup and disaster recovery planning, as well as client staff training on both proprietary and off-the shelf systems. As a matter of course our teams provide 24/7 cover that today's businesses demand.

The Web

In 1999 VCI commissioned LVS to develop the company's online trading website. The system was built as an extension of the existing trading database allowing for seamless financial and operational management. Some of the best e-commerce brains in the business combined Java N Tier architectures and latest XML/XSL technologies to produce a scalable, fault tolerant enterprise platform for VC's existing and future e-commerce requirements.

The system went live on 15 January 2000, just twelve weeks after the first line of code was written. Because it was developed using the latest languages and technologies, the website has proved itself time and time again to be faster, better featured, and more resilient than the competition.

Today the website continues to evolve, keeping our Client at the forefront of a highly competitive field. Currently the site is generating almost half of the total volume of bets taken by the business as a whole, and easily handles 20,000 transactions a day and 1000 simultaneously logged in users.


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