The finances of News Corp-backed betting company Betr’ could take a hit if the Penrith Panthers win the NRL grand final, following a generous incentive that attracted a record fine and criticism from a regulator.
When the betting company launched in late 2022, it was offering 100-1 odds on Penrith Panthers winning their third consecutive final with bets up to $10.
According to most analysts, a Penrith victory is now a possibility remote and a probable outcome.
The bookmaker has offered similar incentives for the Melbourne Cup, Cox Plate and AFL markets in a bid to lure customers away from established betting firms.
Betr, which went up for sale in March after being hit with a record $210,000 fine for media ads showing 100-1 odds in News Corp stores, has already sought to limit the damage caused by a Panthers victory.
“Secure a win against the Panthers EXCLUSIVELY on your account,” read a text message sent last month to a punter who had bet money on Penrith.
You can cash out your Panthers bet on the 2023 NRL Premiership Futures Market for $500 in CASH and receive a refund of your original stake.
Amounts withdrawn must be transferred in full before you can make a withdrawal.
The amount of $500 is half of what Betr would have to pay if the Panthers win the final.Another cashback offer sent in July to someone who had bet on the Panthers and Geelong to win the AFL grand final was offered $500.
At the time, Penrith were top of the league, but Geelong was mid-table .In May, a gambler was offered $100 to cash in on the Panthers.
Betr has been contacted for comment.
During the spring carnival, the Australian Financial Review reported that Betr offered rival bookmakers to reduce its exposure to the Melbourne Cup by around $10 million.
In April, Betr was fined a record $210,000 for squandering 100:1 gambling incentives at News Corp.-affiliated newspapers, radio and television stations.
Liquor and Gaming NSW chief executive Jane Lin said the $210,000 fine was appropriate given the “significant breaches of the law” committed by Betr.
“This company attempted to attract new customer base and capture significant market share with promotions that we believed were over the top, while using incentives that could harm the community,” Lin said.
In many cases, such promotions can legally only be offered to betting account holders who, unlike the general public, have made a conscious decision to open an account and receive this information.
Betr stopped the incentive campaign when the NSW regulator raised concerns with the company last year.
By agreeing to pay the fine without contesting it, Betr could have avoided a potentially lengthy legal procedure.
A Betr spokesperson said at the time that the company did not believe it had broken regulations and called on the state regulator to clarify guidelines for the industry.
Betr was founded with financial backing from News Corp, former BetEasy CEO Tripp’s TGW and Las Vegas company Tekkorp, with the intention of using News Corp’s media assets to promote the company.
News Corp distanced itself from Betr before the company was put up for sale, with the company’s American leadership telling analysts it would not invest any more money in the business.
Two News Corp executives left Betr’s board this year.
News Corp’s international accounts for the final six months of 2022 revealed losses of around $51.2 million ($33 million) to affiliates, some of which were attributed to Betr.