Betr boss hits back at claims punters were ripped off in Melbourne Cup 100-1 odds promotional stunt


The owner of Australia’s newest and most controversial betting platform, Betr, has denied accusations it shut down punters’ accounts to avoid paying them their winnings.

Betr boss Matt Tripp shot down the ‘rubbish’ rumours his company avoided millions of dollars worth of payouts on its controversial offer of 100/1 odds on every horse in this year’s Melbourne Cup.

‘I’ve read a couple of things that we deactivated accounts and all this sort of rubbish,’ he told Sydney Morning Herald. 

‘There were a bunch of duplicate accounts trying to open multiple accounts, which wasn’t in the spirit of the way things should be handled. That was a very small section of the 300,000 people who have joined us. Less than one per cent.’ 

Betr agency founder Matthew Tripp (pictured with his family) has hit back at claims the agency shut down punters’ accounts to avoid paying out their winnings after launching a controversial offer on all the horses in this year’s Melbourne Cup

Betr caught the attention of Aussie punters earlier this week by offering outrageous 100-1 odds on all horses for the Melbourne Cup, even hot favourite Deauville Legend.

The agency is now facing possible fines from the gambling regulator and the wrath of furious punters who claim their accounts were deactivated so they couldn’t collect their winnings.

Gold Trip’s storming victory on Tuesday meant the News Corp-backed firm dodged a disastrous $50 million payout.

Tripp has now revealed how he and other Betr executives dealt with the stress of a looming financial disaster on Melbourne Cup day. 

Tripp and his executives felt intense pressure as Melbourne Cup favourite Deauville Legend (pictured) looked in great shape and threatened to win the race - which would have turned their 100-to-1 promotion into a financial disaster

Tripp and his executives felt intense pressure as Melbourne Cup favourite Deauville Legend (pictured) looked in great shape and threatened to win the race – which would have turned their 100-to-1 promotion into a financial disaster  

Tyler Chalwell (right) told Daily Mail Australia he received an exciting call from his wife Kelly (left) that her $10 bet on Gold Trip at $100/1 won and they were $1000 richer

Tyler Chalwell (right) told Daily Mail Australia he received an exciting call from his wife Kelly (left) that her $10 bet on Gold Trip at $100/1 won and they were $1000 richer 

Just 23 minutes before the race got underway she received an email that read; 'Your betr account has been deactivated. You will not have any access to your account until you choose to activate it by sending an account activation request to cutomerservice@betr.com.au'

Just 23 minutes before the race got underway she received an email that read; ‘Your betr account has been deactivated. You will not have any access to your account until you choose to activate it by sending an account activation request to cutomerservice@betr.com.au’

They were gathered in his office to watch the horses in the parade ring, hoping favourite Deauville Legend wouldn’t win and turn the 100-1 odds promo into a catastrophe – but became worried when experts said the horse looked in great shape.

‘I thought the same thing,’ Tripp admitted. ‘A few people also called me from the track and said it presented well. I thought, “S**t, that’s all I need.”‘ 

Deauville Legend looked a threat to win the race as it chased down the leaders with 450 metres left to run, and Tripp – who said the most he’d previously stood to lose on a horse was $2million to $3million – felt even more pressure.

‘When the horse loomed up I thought, “Here we go. This is not a good way to start a business. They’ll all be out to get me tonight,”‘ he recalled.

The favourite finished fourth, however – and Tripp said the Betr office was ‘like a nightclub’ after the race. 

Desperate to grab market share from rivals TAB and Sportsbet, Betr took a huge risk offering 100-1 odds on every horse - which would have backfired spectacularly if Deauville Legend had won the country's biggest race

Desperate to grab market share from rivals TAB and Sportsbet, Betr took a huge risk offering 100-1 odds on every horse – which would have backfired spectacularly if Deauville Legend had won the country’s biggest race 

Mr Tripp celebrated at his upscale restaurant Coda (pictured) after the Melbourne Cup with close friend and business partner Todd Buckingham, part owner of winning horse Gold Trip

Mr Tripp celebrated at his upscale restaurant Coda (pictured) after the Melbourne Cup with close friend and business partner Todd Buckingham, part owner of winning horse Gold Trip

He later hailed the launch as a masterstroke, saying ‘it’s been literally the talk of every pub and bar in the country’ after 300,000 punters signed up in just two weeks. 

Mr Tripp celebrated after the race with close mate Todd Buckingham, part owner of Gold Trip and chief executive of Betmakers, which provides the wagering technology for Betr.

They dined and partied at upscale Melbourne restaurant Coda, which Mr Tripp owns along with similarly priced Tonka.

Inside the high-stakes life of gambling tycoon as his News Corp-backed betting agency Betr is slammed by punters for closing accounts rather than settling winning bets

By Nic White for Daily Mail Australia

Australia’s newest betting agency Betr launched in a flurry of hype and controversy just weeks before the Melbourne Cup.

Desperate to grab market share from rivals TAB and Sportsbet, it took an outrageous risk offering 100-1 odds on every horse, even hot favourite Deauville Legend.

Gold Trip’s storming victory on Tuesday meant the NewsCorp- backed firm dodged a disastrous $50 million payout, but not everyone is happy with the stunt.

Betr is now facing fines from the gambling regulator and the wrath of furious punters who claim their accounts were deactivated so they couldn’t collect their winnings.

But no one who wants to see the upstart agency fail should bet against its man at the helm – arguably Australia’s most successful betting pioneer, Matthew Tripp.

Matthew Tripp (pictured with his family) is the founder of Australia's newest betting agency, Betr

Matthew Tripp (pictured with his family) is the founder of Australia’s newest betting agency, Betr

Mr Tripp, 47, bought a near-bankrupt Sportsbet for just $250,000 in 2005 and sold it to Irish betting giant Paddy Power for $388 million just six years later.

He then snapped up BetEasy for $6 million and sold it twice, first with a 66 per cent stake to James Packer’s Crown in 2014 and then to The Stars Group in 2019.

When Mr Tripp took it on, the company had just 20,000 punters signed up. When TSG snapped it up, it was valued at $1.255 billion and Mr Tripp walked away with $94.5 million for his last stake alone.

Despite being a diehard AFL fan, he weeks later became executive chairman of the Melbourne Storm NRL team, in which he had long owned a 12.5 per cent stake.

But his close friend professional gambler Zeljko Ranogajec revealed meticulously studying betting odds isn’t the only secret to his method.

‘He is superstitious and always wears his underpants inside out and insists on double-strength toilet paper and a bottle of water near his bed,’ he wrote in his book. 

Making noise with a huge risk like Betr’s Melbourne Cup stunt is nothing new to its hard-charging founder, who wagered $1 million on Hawthorn to win the 2008 AFL Grand Final – and won.

In the 2022 Melbourne Cup, Gold Trip stormed home at Flemington to win

In the 2022 Melbourne Cup, Gold Trip stormed home at Flemington to win 

Betr was so worried about paying out on Deauville Legend that it hedged millions with other bookmakers and offered punters $150 to cancel their bets.

But after Gold Trip crossed the line, Mr Tripp was hailing the launch as a masterstroke and one of the most successful of all time. 

‘It’s been literally the talk of every pub and bar in the country,’ he said after 300,000 punters signed up in just two weeks. 

Mr Tripp celebrated after the race with close mate Todd Buckingham, part owner of Gold Trip and chief executive of Betmakers, which provides the wagering technology for Betr.

They dined and partied at upscale Melbourne restaurant Coda, which Mr Tripp owns along with similarly priced Tonka.

Adding to a year of high emotions was the death in April of Mr Tripp’s daughter Isabella in April, aged just 14, after a battle with leukemia.

Despite his high-flying life running billion-dollar betting agencies and sport teams, Mr Tripp finds time to go on exotic holidays with his wife Yasmina, son Alex, and daughters Matti and Bella, before her death.

Family photos show them boating on the River Nile and posing with Millie Mouse at Disneyland.

Mr Tripp with his son and eldest child Alex Tripp

Mr Tripp with his son and eldest child Alex Tripp

Family tragedy for Betr founder amid the launch of betting agency

Mr Tripp’s daughter Isabella died in April, aged just 14, after a battle with leukemia.

The little girl won the hearts of the Melbourne Storm’s players, where her father is executive chairman and co-owner through her illness.

Storm star Nelson Asofa-Solomona painted his hair blue and orange to fulfil her dying wish before a match.

‘I was blessed to come into the hospital, me and Paps (Ryan Papenhuyzen), to say our goodbyes,’ he said.

Storm star Nelson Asofa-Solomona painted his hair blue and orange to fulfil her dying wish before a match just hours after

Storm star Nelson Asofa-Solomona painted his hair blue and orange to fulfil her dying wish before a match just hours after

The little girl won the hearts of the Melbourne Storm's players, where her father is executive chairman and co-owner through her illness

The little girl won the hearts of the Melbourne Storm’s players, where her father is executive chairman and co-owner through her illness

‘I came up with the idea to get a template and she colours it in and I’ll colour my hair, just so she could get her mind off the situation and put a smile on her face.’

However, Bella died hours before the match and never got to see him with the coloured hair. 

The Storm took a moment to honour her memory before the NRL match in the NSW country town of Mudgee, and a memorial was held in St Kilda on April 22.

Bella’s relative Scott Woodward said her dad gave a moving speech.

‘He told the audience that his daughter had shared with him that she had found the man she wanted to marry – Ryan Papenhuyzen,’ he recalled.

Mr Tripp was brought into the gambling world by family, too. 

His father Alan Tripp was a legendary bookmaker claimed to be ‘the most convicted in Australia’ during the 1980s and 90s crackdown on the then-illegal industry.

In those days, the TAB was a collection of state government-owned monopolies and private start-price bookie were illegal.

As the country’s biggest, he was public enemy number one of police vice squads in NSW, Victoria, and the ACT and arrested numerous times.

He was famously raided in 1992 when ACT Police discovered he was running a betting operation from the luxury Hyatt Hotel in Canberra.

Despite this, he kept running his very profitable enterprise with high-rolling clients ranging from the cream of Australian society to notorious gangsters.

They included media mogul Kerry Packer and underworld figures like Lewis Moran and Alphonse Gangitano, and Mick Gatto made famous by TV series Underbelly.

Gatto is said to have once summoned Tripp Sr to Melbourne restaurant Pellegrini’s and in the kitchen told the bookie that gambler Harry Kakavas had been speaking ill of him and he wished to mediate it.

Tripp took $5,000 out of his pocket and handed it to Gatto as a thank you after the controversial businessman set Kakavas straight.

Keen gambler and former prime minister Bob Hawke also became a close family friend after they met through Coburg Football Club during the 1980s when they were all club committee members and sponsors.

The politician often bet enough to keep Alan Tripp afloat in hard times and they once shared a pizza and drained a $2,000 bottle of Penfolds Grange Hermitage at Mr Hawke’s home.

Mr Tripp also owns similarly priced restaurant Tonka elsewhere in Melbourne

Mr Tripp also owns similarly priced restaurant Tonka elsewhere in Melbourne

Alan Tripp eventually moved to the Pacific island of Vanuatu, where sport betting was legal, and opened Number One Betting Shop.

His son’s first time running a gambling business when Tripp Sr sold the company to British agency Sportingbet for $35 million.

Much to the new owner’s shock, it was blocked from getting a gambling licence in the newly legalised industry because of its association with Alan Trip.

Eventually a deal was struck to be licenced in the Northern Territory, still a haven for betting agencies so long as the radioactive old bookie wasn’t involved.

Matt Tripp was tasked with transferring the operation to Australia and keeping hold of the clients, before handing over to new Australian boss Michael Sullivan.

Tripp Sr has mostly retired to the town of Yarrawonga on the Victoria-NSW border, where Matt Tripp and his sister Elizabeth grew up, but still spent time in Vanuatu.

Mr Hawke was photographed by local media playing golf with his old friend, saying he was on the island to ‘have a very relaxed visit with my good friend Alan Tripp’.

AFL star, and self-confessed gambling addict, Brendan Fevola was spotted on the Tripp family superyacht Majestic II with his wife Alex and their three children in 2013.

Fevola was at the time playing for the Yarrawonga Pigeons team years after his AFL retirement, of which Sportsbet was a major sponsor.

A few years after the Sportingbet sale, Mr Tripp took over the floundering Sportsbet, which at the time was circling the drain and far from the $1 billion profit company it is today, pumping out the larrikin ads Australians can’t escape from.

By 2008 it was pulling in more than a billion dollars in revenue and by 2011 not only had it in a position for a $388 million sale to Paddy Power, but stuck around as chief executive until April 2013.

Mr Tripp was now worth $115 million but needed only $6 million of this to buy another struggling betting agency in March 2014, BetEzy, which he quickly renamed BetEasy.

The company at the time only had 20,000 users compared to 300,000 at Sportsbet, but that did not deter him.

By September it had another 60,000 thanks to a new betting platform and mobile app, three per cent of the market, 130 staff, and $300 million in revenue.

Mr Tripp (right) with Melbourne storm co-owner Gerry Ryan and non-executive chairman Bart Campbell. Mr Tripp has been a co-owner for many years and became executive chairman in May 2020

Mr Tripp (right) with Melbourne storm co-owner Gerry Ryan and non-executive chairman Bart Campbell. Mr Tripp has been a co-owner for many years and became executive chairman in May 2020

A few months later, James Packer bought a 66 per cent stake and the agency changed its name to CrownBet.

A big reason for BetEasy’s growth was Mr Tripp’s enormous offer in 2014 of $6 million for the exclusive rights to advertise on the AFL’s platforms, and first dibs with its broadcast partners.

This was far more than the $500,000 TAB was paying and shocked the gambling world, laying the foundations for a lucrative part of the league’s revenue today.

But by November 2017, Mr Packer wanted out and broke the news to Mr Tripp after summoning him to his luxury lodge in Aspen.

As soon as the Melbourne Cup and spring racing carnival was over, Mr Tripp dashed around the world trying to find a buyer for Mr Packer’s $150 million asking price.

His weeklong jaunt started in London with Paddy Power, William Hill, and Ladbrokes before Canadian outfit The Stars Group heard about it.

Mr Tripp met with cheif executive Rafi Ashkenazi in Toronto but things suddenly became more complicated when William Hill wanted to sell out of Australia.

TSG secretly agreed to buy CrownBet on February 25, 2018, and the two companies jointly bid to buy William Hill.

After about a week, they came up with a winning price of $300 million.

The deal still left Mr Tripp and his backers 20 per cent of CrownBet, which changed its name back to BetEasy.

During this time William Hill had bought out Sportingbet, the company Mr Tripp’s father sold his Vanuatu agency to in 2001, and Mr Tripp wanted to use it again.

However, his old firm Sportsbet blocked the name change as being too similar to its own and could ‘mislead or deceive’ punters.

Mr Tripp stayed on as chief executive until January 1, 2020, after TSG bought out the rest of the company for about $250 million.

He received $94.5 million for his remaining 3.8 per cent stake and was also linked to a similar sized holding in the name of his relative Catherine Tripp.

Among others with smaller stakes to cash in was former Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting, who collected $12.5 million.

BetEasy at the time was Australia’s third-biggest betting agency behind TAB and Sportsbet with 400,000 customers. 

As all this was going on, TSG did a deal to merge with Flutter, owner of both Paddy Power and Sportsbet, and BetEasy was folded into Sportsbet – bringing Mr Tripp full circle.

This merger put on hold discussions between Mr Tripp and News Corp about plans to open the betting agency that would eventually become Betr.

Talk started in 2018 and heated up last year before it finally launched on October 12, just before The Everest and Caufield Cup, with News Corp owning 33 per cent.

Rupert Murdoch already failed to start his own betting firm with the spectacular disaster of Sun Bets in the UK, which cost the company and its joint venture partner TAB tens of millions.

The media mogul hopes the surest bet in the business can strike him lucky on a second attempt. Despite a bit of drama, so far so good.

Furious punters besiege Betr claiming their accounts were locked so they couldn’t claim their 101-1 odds winnings as regulators circle 

While Betr dodged the $50 hit on Deauville Legend, the company isn’t out of the firing line, with furious punters who backed Gold Trip accusing the company of deactivating their accounts rather than paying out their $1,000 windfall.

Tyler Chalwell told Daily Mail Australia he received an exciting call from his wife Kelly saying they were $1,000 richer after backing the winner, only to then discover the betting agency had deactivated her account. 

‘She is ‘pretty p**sed off,’ Mr Chalwell said. ‘We opened the account a few weeks ago when having a few drinks with friends and family.

‘So my wife and some friends signed up as I was talking about the Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup offer.

‘She chose Gold Trip in the account, and her account was verified.’

Betr is desperately trying to stem the massive losses with a frantic text offering $150 in free bets to anyone who backed Deauville Legend under the offer.

Betr is desperately trying to stem the massive losses with a frantic text offering $150 in free bets to anyone who backed Deauville Legend under the offer.

As well as the $150 in free bets, punters will also get a refund of their $10 stake if they scrap the wager on Deauville Legend before the first race at Flemington

As well as the $150 in free bets, punters will also get a refund of their $10 stake if they scrap the wager on Deauville Legend before the first race at Flemington

Ms Chalwell also backed hot favourite Anamoe in the Cox Plate at Betr’s promotional odds of 20/1 for any runner – and was able to withdraw her collect from that win.

‘Today she saw Gold Trip won and she was stoked but went to login and saw her account had been deactivated,’ her husband said.

Just 23 minutes before the race got underway she received an email that read; ‘Your betr account has been deactivated. You will not have any access to your account until you choose to activate it by sending an account activation request to cutomerservice@betr.com.au.’

Desperate attempts to contact Betr to have her account reactivated were unsuccessful.

Others online have also voiced similar stories.

‘You are a joke, why have I been deactivated. So angry,’ one social media user commented.

‘Same happened to my wife,’ another wrote.

Betr had frantically been trying to lay off its exposure to a Deauville Legend win before Tuesday’s race – offering customers $150 in bonus bets, plus a refund of $10, if they agreed to cancel their bet on the favourite. 

‘EXCLUSIVE to your account. Lock in a win with Deauville Legend,’ read the begging Betr text to Melbourne Cup punters who backed the favourite at 100/1.

‘Follow the steps below before Race one at Flemington tomorrow and you can cash out your bet on Deauville Legend for $150 in Bonus Cash + your original stake refunded.’

More than 80,000 racegoers (pictured)  flocked to Flemington to see Gold Trip storm to victory in the 162nd Melbourne Cup

More than 80,000 racegoers (pictured)  flocked to Flemington to see Gold Trip storm to victory in the 162nd Melbourne Cup

In further bad news for Betr, which is 33 per cent-owned by media giant News Corp, the 100-1 promotion is now being probed by gambling watchdogs in NSW. 

‘Liquor & Gaming NSW has serious concerns that this advertising may constitute a prohibited inducement under NSW gambling laws,’ a statement from the regulator said.

‘Broadly speaking, L&GNSW considers that an inducement includes any offer that may be capable of persuading or encouraging a person to participate, or to participate frequently, in any gambling activity, including to open a betting account.

‘We are investigating and will respond to any breaches with the full force of the law.’

The probe could also cost News Corp after its newspapers published adverts for the offer nationwide, which may also have been in breach of local state laws.

Betr was launched less than three weeks ago in time for racing’s Spring Carnival in a joint venture with bookie entrepreneur Matthew Tripp, who previously launched Sportsbet and BetEasy.

It was designed to harness and leverage the reach and power of News Corp’s Foxtel  sports channel and state newspapers to boost its business, based on the successful Sky BET in the UK and FOX Bet in the US.

Betr launched with 60 staff and plans to quickly expand to 120 by targeting the lucrative under 35s market.

It had also looked at buying the $1billion licence for TAB wagering rights in Western Australia but later withdrew due to naming-rights restrictions.



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