The Extra Word on … the return of Matt Tripp

By
Updated: March 7, 2014

Welcome to this regular TIW column, highlighting some of the stories and results that have caught the punting eye of editor-in-chief Sean Callander.

 

Matt Tripp is back in the big game as the new owner of Betezy, soon to be rebranded Beteasy

Matt Tripp is back in the big game as the new owner of Betezy, soon to be rebranded Beteasy

As if the battle for our punting dollar was not competitive enough, a familiar name is about to throw the proverbial flame onto the fuel-soaked woodpile that is the Australian corporate betting scene. Matt Tripp sold his former company Sportsbet to Irish gaming giant Paddy Power for more than $300 million in 2011 but needed only a fraction of that kitty to purchase Betezy last week.

He said he intended to rebrand the company as “Beteasy” before commencing operations within the next month. His stated aim is to cater to punters disenchanted by other corporate bookmakers refusing their bets. Betezy’s turnover was AUD $250 million in the last financial year via its 100,000-strong customer base, according to Tripp. But he believes the business has great potential for growth, even in the super-competitive Australian online wagering environment.

Tripp was certainly picking his words carefully when he spoke with RSN during the week: “I think we have lost a bit of the glamour of what it is to be Australian and enjoy a bet. If you back a winner or have more than two or three hundred (dollars) on one and get on a bit of a roll, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get on. I want to bring a bit of the romance back into betting, I guess you’d call it.”

As Tripp stated, the influx of UK bookmakers, sparked ironically by Paddy Power’s purchase of Sportsbet, has brought with it the questionable business practice of even modestly profitable punters having either their bets or potential winnings limited and, in some cases, their accounts being suspended. I can attest to the existence of said practice with two corporates keeping The Inside Word on a short leash!

 

We're surprised just one female was given the opportunity to fire paint gun pellets at Shane Warne!

We’re surprised just one female was given the opportunity to fire paint gun pellets at Shane Warne!

• The corporates were already jumpy enough prior to the announcement of Tripp’s re-entry to the market. One of the more fascinating developments in recent weeks has been the addition of Shane Warne as a brand ambassador for Sportingbet as part of a major brand relaunch and facelift to the website. Marketing director, Claire Murphy, said, “Shane is, without question, one of the most admired cricketers of all time. He’s the quintessential Aussie bloke who we’re sure is going to resonate with punters nationwide – so it is a perfect brand partnership for us.” Only one problem – Warne is still a brand ambassador for 888Poker, part of the product range offered by global gaming giants 888 Holdings.

888 Holdings is licensed in Gibraltar and, under Australian law, is not permitted to allow Australian residents access to its gaming products. Much to the chagrin of organisations like the Australian Wagering Council, Warne has been used extensively in promotions aimed specifically at Australian online poker players. A tournament named in his honour and sponsored by 888 Poker – the Shane Warne Super Stack Series – has been played at Melbourne’s Crown Casino in each of the past three years. To blur the arrangement even further, both Sportingbet and 888 operate online sportsbooks in the UK! Thankfully, the Federal Government is starting to take a close look at companies like 888, which market and provide services to Australian customers without paying a single dollar in tax.

It’s been an interesting week in the William Hill offices. Last Saturday, a reporter from Melbourne’s Herald Sun placed a $5 bet on former German stayer Salon Soldier to win the 2014 Melbourne Cup with Tom Waterhouse, one of the three brands owned by the UK giant in Australia (along with Sportingbet and Centrebet). Just one small problem – Salon Soldier, which had won its two Australian starts for Newcastle trainer Kris Lees, fell ill with colic and died on December 13 last year. The bet was refunded once the Waterhouse organisation was alerted to the horse’s presence in the market. In hindsight, the price of $31 may have been slightly under the odds.

 

• A win for common sense in the case of Daniel Thomas Dobson that I featured in a previous ‘Extra Word’ column (click here). Prosecutors this week withdrew a ‘courtsiding’ charge brought against the British man after he was arrested at the Australian Open in January. The official charge was “engaging in conduct that would corrupt a betting outcome”. Dobson, the son of a UK police detective inspector and the first person charged under the new State legislation in Victoria, was not at the Melbourne Magistrates Court having returned to Britain. Mr Dobson, who has returned to the UK and was not in court on Thursday.

Prosecutors had wrongly alleged that Mr Dobson was one of six people who travel the world to send live results of points won at tennis tournaments directly to a betting agency. It was alleged Mr Dobson sent results before the agency could get them through the official channels and that had the ability to affect betting odds. Police released a brief statement explaining the decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions: “After careful consideration and consultation with the DPP, Victoria Police accepts the DPP’s decision not to proceed with charges following allegations of courtside betting during the Australian Open in January 2014 at this time. This decision, which is based on the circumstance of this case, should not be seen as an invitation for people to attend the Australian Open next year and engage in courtsiding.”

Mr Dobson’s barrister David Galbally QC told the Melbourne Magistrates Court his client’s reputation had been damaged and applied for costs, which will be determined at a later hearing. Mr Galbally should also consider applying the laws of defamation as the case has been misreported from day one in the mainstream media, which continued this week with “courtsiding” widely described as placing bets illegally on spot events to corrupt gambling markets, invariably involves a syndicate, with a spectator using an electronic device to send a signal to another person at another location.

 

Final word: I wish I’d thought of this after one or several big nights in Vegas over the years. Mark Johnston is suing the new Grand Resort Casino in Las Vegas for allegedly cheating him out of $500,000, which he lost gambling during Super Bowl weekend. Johnston, who admits he had too much to drink before wagering that money, said the resort should not have let him gamble. While he doesn’t expect any sympathy from others, he still feels wronged. “I feel like they picked my pockets,” he said. “I feel like they took a drunk guy … like a drunk guy walking down the street, and you reach in his pockets and grab all his money.” Good luck with all of that Mr Johnston.

 

One Comment

  1. Aussie Punter

    April 9, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    Great article, thanks Sean.

    I find it interesting to learn what’s happening with the Australian bookmakers these days. It’s also interesting to learn that Matt Tripp bought SportsBet for 250K and sold it for more than $3 million. BetEzy must be doing a fair amount of business if he paid $10 million for it.

    I think it can only be good for punters to have more competition.

    If only our supermarkets would get the interest of huge English corporations too.

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