May 21, 2024

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Gambling entrepreneur Matthew Tripp has confirmed plans to launch his highly anticipated News Corp Australia-backed bookmaker ahead of the Everest Carnival and the Caulfield Cup in an attempt to attract young punters and grow rapidly in a highly competitive market.
In his first interview about his new venture, betr, Tripp laid out its ambitions to become the leading force in Australian wagering and signalled he may seek out further investment from other media companies and strategic partners, as he tries to secure key wagering licences across the country.
Matthew Tripp has ambitious plans for his new startup.Credit:Jesse Marlow
Betr, which was first discussed by News Corp Australia and Tripp four years ago, remains in advanced talks with the WA TAB and is in early discussions with the Victorian government about its wagering licence, as it tries to scale up in a highly regulated and competitive wagering market.
“We think [WA TAB] is a must for us as a start-up,” Tripp said. “We haven’t re-entered this market to play second fiddle to anyone. We want to grow sensibly through M&A and organically with the partnerships that we forged with everyone. We believe we will be – certainly a tier one operator very quickly – but in time the most prominent brand in the country.”
Tripp, who built the Sportsbet and BetEasy brands in Australia, said his ambitions to launch another wagering company came from the idea of leveraging the assets of media partner News Corp, which owns the cable and streaming company Foxtel as well as mastheads including The Australian and The Daily Telegraph. The initial talks were stalled with the merger of Flutter and Stars Group.
“We were forced to reconsider our position…but we were always safe in the knowledge and in conversations with News Corp that when the time was right, that we would…try and work towards an outcome,” he said.
This masthead revealed last year News Corp was investing in a bookmaking outfit with Tripp after on and off talks with other potential partners. News owns 33 per cent of the venture, which is also backed by Las Vegas-based Tekkorp Capital and ASX-listed BetMakers Technology Group.
“The genesis of the idea is the wagering company, media organisation partnership,” betr’s chief executive Andrew Menz said. “We’ve seen that model work so spectacularly well with Sky BET in the UK and we saw that model as the one that could supercharge the growth of an existing company…and the way to launch a start-up.”
News Corp’s national masthead The Australian reported two months ago betr was in talks with Seven West Media about signing on as an investor. Tripp did not comment on Seven’s potential investment but indicated future partners may come on board.
“We are always open to expansion and if there is M&A to occur, then there may be additions to the register at that time. As it stands at the moment, it’s three shareholders.”
Betr has 60 staff and has plans to expand to 120 employees, but is already attempting to scale as quickly as possible – Tripp recently bought corporate bookmaker TexBet and made an offer to acquire PointsBet. The pair is planning to spend tens of millions of dollars on advertising to the under 35s market, which Menz said is untapped by existing bookies.
“We believe we will be – certainly a tier one operator very quickly-  but in time the most prominent brand in the country.”
The Murdoch family has some experience in launching wagering outfits. As CEO of Fox Corp, Lachlan Murdoch was behind the launch of lucrative US-based bookmaker FOX Bet in the US, which profited from a ruling that effectively legalised sports betting in the country. In the UK, the Murdochs set up SunBets, a now failed joint venture wagering company, which was established with Tabcorp.
Despite the success of FOX Bet in the US, Tripp and Menz have opted for an alternative name for their product. “Fox is in a third of homes in Australia,” Tripp said. “We wanted to be a little bit broader than that.”
Irrespective of the name, betr is expected to leverage the relationship with News Corp through advertising agreements across its mastheads, cable product Foxtel and online streaming service Kayo Sports. Wagering sponsorships are valuable as they give a partner first rights to integrate into the broadcaster’s coverage of a match and on websites such as NRL.com and AFL.com. For wagering outfits, the integrations helps grow audience and revenue.
“We’d love to be in the Foxtel AFL broadcasts, but that comes down to being the AFL partner,” Menz said. “If betr was the AFL partner, you would likely see betr integrated into the Fox Footy broadcast.”
The new wagering company launches as the Spring racing season kicks into gear.Credit:Getty Images
News Corp Australia has a history of investing in media companies that complement its existing newspaper business, which includes The Australian, The Herald Sun and The Daily Telegraph, while generating new forms of revenue. It owns 100 per cent of content agency Medium Rare and has owns racing sites punters.com.au and Racenet, which derive substantial revenue by trailing commissions from bookmakers. News Corp has recently expanded its editorial team with a focus on racing and airs sports odds on key sports channels on Foxtel.
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