Nederlandse Loterij

Rebuilding a higly complex IT system, while avoiding downtime


About Nederlandse Loterij

With annual revenues of 1.3 billion euro, Nederlandse Loterij (NLO) is the largest lottery and gaming organisation in the Netherlands, making a significant impact on Dutch society. NLO provides a variety of games, including traditional lottery, sports betting, and instant games, offering attractive, regulated chances to Dutch players.

Each year, NLO donates nearly all its profits to the Dutch sporting community through the organisation NOC*NSF. These funds benefit 18 good causes in the realms of health, exercise, and welfare. Additionally, proceeds are channelled to the broader Dutch society via the Ministry of Finance.

Prompted by legislative changes that opened the Dutch online betting and gaming market to new competitors, NLO faced the need to adapt. With an ageing IT system limiting its user experience, the organisation decided it had to upgrade to remain competitive.

In 2017, NLO made the decision to switch from relying primarily on a single-vendor software solution to adopting a best-of-breed approach that utilises systems from multiple vendors. The goal was to gain the flexibility and agility required to meet changing market conditions and comply with new legislative requirements.

However, this planned transition presented integration challenges. NLO required a technology partner that could build a robust and scalable gateway, one that would seamlessly integrate a diverse set of back-end systems and client interfaces.

The need

Why did NLO opt for Utilus over off-the-shelf solutions? Utilus stands out for its expertise in crafting reliable, mission-critical software that excels in complex third-party integrations. Our systems are designed to be resilient against external disruptions, while also featuring advanced alerting, throttling, and flexible data format handling.

Why Utilus?

'Introducing new games and complying with new legislation simply wasn’t possible on the old system. Changing to a best-of-breed landscape was necessary'
Micha van Breda
Head of Cloud Operations, Utilus

We began with a simple test model that helped us understand what would work best for Nederlandse Loterij (NLO). Throughout the project, we kept NLO closely involved and regularly updated them on costs, progress, and next steps.

Working with our tech partner Trifork, we built a digital so-called gateway that operates in the cloud (Amazon Web Services – AWS). This makes it easier to manage and update the system with just a click. Each part of the system works independently, so if one area has a problem, it won’t affect the others. This design also allows for easier updates without causing disruptions.

We also included features that help NLO understand how well the system is working. This insight is valuable for improving their services and ultimately their sales. After the success of this project, we started another one to help NLO manage subscriptions, which is also now up and running successfully, even during high-traffic hours.

The solution

'These insights provide NLO with valuable information on usage, performance, error rates and how these factors affect their bottom line with respect to satisfying their customers'
Micha van Breda
Head of Cloud Operations, Utilus

Over the last three years, the Gateway we built has facilitated NLO’s seamless migration to their new central lottery system. Our Gateway’s stable APIs allowed for minimal disruption as each game was transitioned. By orchestrating essential interactions between account management and central systems, we’ve made it easy for client platforms like websites and apps to adapt.

In 2020, the subscription system we designed was launched, ensuring business continuity as games transitioned onto the new platform. By mid-2021, even Staatsloterij, the most complex game, was fully integrated, rounding off the initial project.

As new gaming legislation comes into play, our Gateway is optimally positioned to manage the new regulatory requirements. Essentially, our Gateway has become the cornerstone of NLO’s IT framework, fully preparing them for the future.

The benefits

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