Australia’s Betr Sportsbook Comes up Lame with Melbourne Cup Bettors
Australia’s sports betting brand Betr is a relatively new entry in the market, but has backing from some of the country’s most experienced players. That makes it surprising that the company completely fumbled a recent promotion it launched in conjunction with the Melbourne Cup horse race.
Betr boss Matt Tripp has dismissed “rubbish” rumors that the sportsbook avoided payments in its controversial offer of 100-to-1 odds on each horse in this year’s Melbourne Cup. Tripp is a long-time gambling industry insider and entrepreneur who launched the betting platform with the help of Australia’s NewsCorp.
The promotion, which also included the heavy favorite, Deauville Legend, almost cost the company millions. Users who signed up to take advantage of the promotion claim Betr closed their accounts so it wouldn’t have to pay out.
Limping Out of the Gate
When Betr launched the promotion, it seemed like a great way for the nascent sports betting platform to grab customers away from rivals such as Sportsbet as 100-to-1 odds across the board would be too lucrative to resist.
The response was greater than the company anticipated. When it began to crunch the numbers on what it would have to pay out, Betr allegedly began turning off accounts.
Tripp denies the allegations, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. What was actually happening, he insists, is that Betr was shutting down duplicate accounts. Tripp claims that less than 1% of the people who signed up were affected by the closures.
That explanation might not hold up. Gambling regulators are now taking a closer look at the company’s marketing stunt and could issue fines. Consumers are venting their frustration, as well, forcing Betr into damage control mode.
Creating multiple accounts on different online gaming platforms is one thing. Being able to create them on the same platform seems to indicate a lack of adherence to established controls. As with most regulated jurisdictions, Australia requires new registrations to verify their identity.
Saved by the Bell
Deauville Legend may have been the favorite, but another horse took the win and gave Betr a break. Gold Trip’s landslide victory meant the sportsbook avoided what could have been a disastrous AU$50 million (US$31.67 million) payout.
Tripp and the rest of the Betr crew could only watch as Deauville Legend appeared to be on track to win the race. If he had, the losses to the sportsbook could have crippled the company.
However, Gold Trip surprised most race fans and took the win. Tripp said the Betr office exploded “like a nightclub.” Corralled in his office watching the race, anxiety gave way to a celebration.
Deauville Legend was behind the leaders with 450 meters left in the race when he started closing the gap. Tripp could only see millions of dollars floating away. The three-year-old gelding finished fourth, saving the company, as most bettors had backed him to win.
When Gold Trip won, so did its owner, Todd Buckingham, in several ways. Buckingham is friends with Tripp and is also the CEO of Betmakers. The company provides the technology Betr uses to run its sports betting operations.
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