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Vicky Nolan

Jose Proves That Preparation Is Necessary

29 October 1999

It's hard to believe that the weather could affect online gambling. Storms like the recent Hurricane Jose, which whooshed through Antigua and Barbuda with 100-plus mph winds, however, can alter your perceptions in a hurry.

Several gaming websites sites located in Antigua shut down for hours during the storm, which hit Antigua on October 20. The Antigua power company turned off electricity before it even arrived. The island suffered "minimal damages" following Hurricane Jose, according to government reports, including a few destroyed homes, roofs blown off buildings and similar damages. 90 percent of the island was without water after the hurricane, according to reports from the Weather Channel.

For online gambling site operators, the first concern during the storm is whether the site can remain active and, if not, how to reassure customers that the site is just suffering a temporary weather-related problem.

Planning ahead can be an important public relations tactic by keeping your customers informed about what's happening. Poor planning, on the other hand, could potentially lead to lost customers and lost profits.

For the operators of, Hurricane Jose was the first time that weather problems had affected the site. Their first concern was that customers would think that the business had gone under, so they posted the following notice on their site: "EMERGENCY NOTICE: Due to hurricane weather in Antigua, our servers may have to shut down for a period of a few hours. Please place your bets as early as possible. We apologize for any interruption in service, which is beyond our control."

Service was down for the better part of the day, according to the company spokesperson.

Luckily for, the storm came during the best possible time-the lull of the week before most wagers are made. If it had happened at a busier time, they could potentially have lost thousands of dollars.

Another consideration is protecting your equipment. You've invested thousands of dollars in computer equipment and set up an office. Hurricane Jose barreled through Antigua ripping off the roofs of some buildings, breaking windows and generally creating havoc. Insurance will probably cover most damage, but most people would rather not deal with the mess left from a disaster.

World Wide Tele-Sports was prepared. After facing a few hurricanes over the years, they have developed a plan of action. A representative with the company told IGN, "Basically, you have to shut down everything in your office. We back up our computers and cover everything to protect it."

Their business is located in a "hurricane proof" building which suffered a little rain damage, this time. Following Hurricane Luis, the WWTS owner tracked their telephone trunk several blocks from the office building and managed to get it hooked back up-with the addition of some extra lines. They called a nearby competitor whose lines were also down and offered them use of the additional lines for forwarding calls, proving that disasters seem to bring out the best in people.

Even a hurricane proof building isn't enough to protect delicate computer systems against electrical surges and other nasty surprises. "We shut down on Tuesday night after news reports said Hurricane Jose would hit around 3 a.m.," the source said. "But, it didn't hit until later in the morning, so our site didn't come back up until Thursday." They posted a notice on Bettorsworld to keep their customers informed about the shutdown. One boon for their site was when the Atlanta Braves won the Pennant. There was no need for WWTS employees to track down bettors, which would have required the use of forwarded phone calls.

Experience taught them the need to have a powerful generator. Following a previous hurricane, a weak generator blew out their computer system, causing even more headaches.

As for riding out the storm, the WWTS source said that the first hurricane is a complete shock to newcomers. After you've been through a couple, however, you can tell when it's getting worse, when the eye of the storm has arrived and when it's finally on its way out.

Then you can assess what damage was done and decide how to prepare for the next hurricane.

Jose Proves That Preparation Is Necessary is republished from
Vicky Nolan
Vicky Nolan