Australia’s Betr Loses Major Backer as News Corp. Dumps Shares

Posted on: October 9, 2023, 07:47h. 

Last updated on: October 9, 2023, 01:59h.

In recent months, News Corp. has been distancing itself from Australia’s Betr, including the departure of two executives from Betr’s board. This week, Australian Financial Review disclosed that News Corp. has divested its shares in the gambling startup.

A Betr ad promoting 100-to-1 odds on the Melbourne Cup
A Betr ad promoting 100-to-1 odds on the Melbourne Cup. The ad may have led to disaster for the company and could have been why News Corp. sold its stake. (Image: Australian sportsbook Betr)

Betr, which secured a reported AUD70-million (US$44.52 million) investment from News Corp., TGW led by former BetEasy chief executive Matthew Tripp, and Las Vegas firm Tekkorp, was established less than a year ago. The initial plan was to leverage News Corp.’s media assets to promote the startup. But that seems to have gone sideways.

This week, Betr Chairman Matthew Tripp expressed gratitude for News Corp.’s “initial and ongoing support.” However, he clarified that the Murdoch family-run company is no longer an investor, and it apparently hasn’t been for several months.

Although News Corp. no longer holds a financial stake in Betr, it will continue to feature advertising of the sports betting platform in its mastheads. This will include several prominent publications like the Australian Financial Review.

Company Turnover

Betr is actively seeking new board members following the resignation of News Corp. senior executives Mark Reinke and Peter Blunden in March. The exits came a month after News Corp sold its shares in the company, although no announcement had been made at the time.

The announcement closely follows the retirement of Rupert Murdoch, the billionaire media mogul who has led the News Corp. empire since its inception. However, there has been no confirmation that the sale of the Betr shares is linked to his departure.

News Corp’s recent financial report showed losses of US$33 million to affiliates, some directly linked to its involvement with Betr.

Betr Losing Gamble

Betr entered the gambling scene with huge dreams and backing expected to carry to the top of the charts. However, the company has dealt with issues stemming from poor executive decisions threatening to collapse the company.

A false start in betting on the Melbourne Cup horse race last year left Betr having to make massive payouts to bettors. It offered 100-to-1 odds on each horse, repeating the odds on several big events, but never expected the reception from bettors it received.

The sportsbook still owes AUD40 million (US$25.54 million) to bettors. It had to finalize all payments by October 6, but has apparently failed to comply.

What happens next isn’t clear – there’s a chance Betr could lose its license. The company has previously said it would be willing to consider a sale, either partial or complete, to the right buyer. But if it’s working on a deal, it remains silent.