“Before talking to you about this new system, I would first like to introduce you to those who have done it,” Yasser Ghaleb, deputy general manager in charge of the support division at the Société Royale d’Encouragement du Cheval, tells us straight away. (SOREC). The DGA, laureate of the Mohammedia School of Engineers (EMI), leads us to another building of the Zénith complex, headquarters of SOREC located in the Souissi district in Rabat, in which the IT department is located. Part of the office space is reserved for the “Gamma” team, named after the central solution developed internally by SOREC. This solution, called a totaliser, processes all the data relating to betting on horse racing, whether it concerns the calculation of odds, winnings or the management of winning tickets.
Gamma officially entered service at the end of March, replacing the Star3000 used for more than fifteen years. “It was a system that worked, which has proven itself, but which cost us time and money with each new development desired. It was a powerful but rigid system”, explains Yasser Ghaleb. Star 3000 is developed and marketed by the French group Carrus, one of the world leaders in this market.
100% Moroccan solution
According to Yasser Ghaleb, the thinking around the development of a new totalizer dates back to 2013. this allowed us to base our growth on sound foundations. We could not leave our core business to external service providers, ”argues the DGA. The public company then recruited the French strategy consulting firm Kea & Partners to analyze the project.
Various scenarios are studied: keeping the same system, developing a new one in partnership with Carrus, or creating one internally. “The last option was the riskiest but the least expensive,” reveals Yasser Ghaleb. The project will be matured and considered until 2020, the date of the effective launch of the active phase. “What encouraged us to embark on this project is that we knew that Morocco had an incubator of leading companies in electronic banking. What there is in common between the banking sector and games is that they are transactional operations”, explains our interlocutor. Following a call for tenders, two Moroccan companies were selected: PCARD Group and Ingenius.
From the outset, the impressive volume of transactions was the first major challenge that the partners of this project had to face. Horse betting in fact totals more than a million transactions per day, more than the operations of all ATMs in the country combined. The other challenge was the terminals. SOREC has a few thousand terminals throughout the territory, which were purchased from the Carrus group and which only communicate with the Star 3000 system. thought that we could use the same terminals by reprogramming them”, tells us Tarik Haddouchi, IT engineer, head of the Gamma project.
A first on the continent
The development of Gamma took 27 months with the participation of 70 stakeholders, in addition to 50 business elements for the testing phase. For the investment, it would be “a few tens of millions of dirhams”, we are told by SOREC without further details. “In any case, Gamma cost us four times less than what the consulting firm had told us,” says Yasser Ghaleb, before making sure that this investment will be amortized in barely a year and a half. The development of an in-house totaliser is a first on the African continent and in the Arab world.
With Gamma, Morocco enters the exclusive club of publishers of IT solutions. While optimizing the management of horse race betting in Morocco in terms of the digitization of services and the diversification of the offer, this 100% Moroccan technology constitutes real progress for the country in terms of digital sovereignty and opens up real prospects for SOREC in as a supplier and exporter of IT solutions dedicated to games.