Betr took a flurry of bets on Melbourne Cup front-runner Deauville Legend after announcing its arrival in Australia with a super enticing 100-to-1 promo for all runners. Not wanting to risk massive losses the new Australian bookie decided to hedge its bets with Tabcorp and Sportsbet.
Reports say that Betr chief Matt Tripp called several Australian betting operators, including Flutter-owned Sportsbet and Tabcorp. At least four people confirmed to the Financial Review that Tripp intended to bet on Melbourne Cup favourite Deauville Legend, something most of betr’s customers were doing, in an attempt to reduce the bookie’s exposure and protect the News Corp-betting operator from massive losses if the favourite triumphed as expected.
Tripp Was Happy to Bet at Regular Prices to Hedge Bets
Betr ran an eye-catching promo in which the bookie offered 100-to-1 odds on every Melbourne Cup runner, but put the maximum bet at $10. However, even with a cap on the maximum bet, betr potentially exposed itself to huge losses if the bookies’ front-runner won. Sources say that thousands of betr punters placed $10 bets on Deauville Legend to win.
The potential losses were reportedly in the tens-of-millions range. For comparison purposes, Tabcorp only offered $3.50 for Deauville Legend.
Tripp, with years of experience in the betting industry, knew they had to “bet back” if they wanted betr’s first big event not to end in massive losses. The same sources say that such was the number of bets placed on the favourite, that the former Sportsbet and BetEasy chief executive was happy to bet at regular prices.
According to two insiders that spoke to the Financial Review, Tripp hedging betr’s bets would help the bookie offset its losses by as much as $10 million if favourite Deauville Legend won. Tripp wagered at fixed odds and also placed bets with Tabcorp’s tote.
A betr spokesman said that the number of bets placed on Deauville Legend in the $101 market was “overwhelming” but that they had “managed” their “liability,” meaning they could cheer for the runner most of their customers backed.
Challenging Australia’s Largest Bookies
Matthew Tripp, News Corp, and Las Vegas gaming industry advisors Tekkorp are all partners in betr. News Corp was instrumental in marketing the $101 Melbourne Cup promo and judging by the number of bets placed, it was a resounding success.
However, after seeing Cox Plate favourite Anamoe win its race and betr losing large amounts of money because of another promo, Tripp probably figured the risk wasn’t worth it and got in touch with betr’s rivals.
Betr offered odds of 21-to-1 on the Cox Plate favourite, and like with the Melbourne cup promo, it capped the bet amount at $10. However, despite the maximum bet cap, the new bookie had to pay thousands of customers after Anamoe won and lost a lot of money only weeks after going live.
Interestingly, Tabcorp and Sportsbet were the first bookmakers betr turned to when it wanted to hedge its bets, despite the News Corp-backed bookie’s open rivalry with the two sportsbooks.
Betr was thought to be the favourite for the WA TAB license but dropped its interest at the very last moment over branding disagreements with the WA government. That means Tabcorp would now likely get the Western Australia license.
Despite only recently going live, betr has also thrown down the gauntlet to Sportsbet, forcing Australia’s biggest bookie to push for an extension of its AFL sponsorship deal. Reports said that betr had already made contacts with the AFL trying to strike a deal once the Sportsbet partnership was over.