Is it Un -Australian not to Bet? How to organise a Melbourne Cup Sweepstake
Written on the 5 November 2012 by Rachel Quilty
To be honest, there are many things that are considered un- Australian. And not betting on the Melbourne Cup is probably one of them.
Within Australia, Melbourne Cup is the horse race that literally stops the nation. In every workplace in Australia, someone will set up the television or grab a radio or tune in online and everyone will stop working for the two minutes the race is on. In Australia, it is considered the height of rudeness to telephone or demand customer service during the two minute race. If you inadvertently called during the race don’t be surprised if the call goes to the answering machine. Just be patient and call back in two minutes and you'll be fine.
Interestingly enough and to prove just how serious Australian can be about a horse race, when Australian thoroughbred Black Caviar recently ran in the Diamond Jubilee Cup at the Royal Ascot in the UK, this was streamed live to Australia and was aired in public areas in Victoria. Black Caviar created a record with 22 wins in every race entered and took its place in racing history.
Australia has quite unique gambling laws and today at the Races bookies still have a strong and visible role in taking bets at the track. It can be a lot of fun using a bookie but general only the regular and serious punters will use them. However, today online betting is becoming increasingly popular and the TABCorp kiosks are prominently positioned for ease of betting on Race Day.
One of the most common ways to have a small, safe and fun bet on the races in your office is to run a sweepstake. You don’t even have to know who is running; you can just pull a horses name out of a hat if you don’t have a preference.
How to Run a Sweepstake
Melbourne Cup Sweepstakes are an easy and fun way of to bet on the Melbourne Cup without the hassle of going to the TAB. It can also raising money within your workplace or social group.
You could host a similar sweepstake for literally any racing event or competition was there are a fixed number of entrants. You can also run multiple sweepstakes for the same event for example it is popular in Australia to have two; one is a one dollar bet the other is a two dollar bet. You could increase the minimum bet to five or ten dollars or higher depending on the financial status of our group and or workplace.
How does it work?
The concept is that you pay a fee to back or purchase one entry. For example, participants can pay into the kitty one dollar and in return pull out or select the number of one entry. If you have more player than entries, create a second sweep. If you have fewer players than entries; players can pay an extra dollar for another entry. And so on.
Where to start::
Firstly you will need to purchase a national or daily local newspaper where the names of the horses are listed conveniently in a column ready for you to cut up. If you don't have a newspaper, go online to the Race Day event page which will tell you which horses are running in the race. You need to place the names of the horse individually so you can note who chose that particular horse.
Each player should select a minimum of one entrant after paying in the appropriate for one selection. You then decide on the number of sweeps you will play and how much entry to each sweep will be.
You then determine how much each place getter wins. Depending on the intention or reason for the sweepstake you might, change how you divide the winnings. Basic if it is a Melbourne Cup sweep where all the money is paid to the winners and place getters, you divide the income into six equal parts the winner get 3 parts the second place getter gets two parts and third place get 1 part.
For example there are eighteen entrants, and eighteen dollars has been collected, therefore the winnings are dividing into six equal parts of three dollars. The winner gets three parts ie 3 x $3 = $9; second place gets 2 x $3 = $6 dollars and third wins 1 x $3 = $3.
There are many other options available too for example; you may allow the winner to win everything collected. Or half the money collected goes to the fundraising effort or the costs incurred for lunch, prizes for best hat etc. Then the same 3:2:1 principal is applied to the remaining money collected.
Now you have determined who the proceeds will be shared and you have a list or hat with the name of the entrants ready.
Next you let your players contribute their fee per entry. The player either chooses their preference or you may elect to have a draw from the hat where no one can choose their favourite horse. You can either give the player the piece of paper with the horse entrants name on it or have the organiser write down who choose which horse. If you have multiple sweeps or you have people who want to play the sweeps but may not be there on the day, recording the horse each player selected is a good idea. So is calculating the winnings amount and noting them against each sweep. Remember before you finalise the number and name of the horse entrants check if any horse or entrant has be scratched ie not running the racing.
To be honest sometime a last minute scratch makes for extra fun and it is hilarious when someone horse gets scratched. And most punters are good sports and have a laugh as well. Just decide upfront how you will treat horses scratched or disqualified or a protestedplace.
If a horse wins or places and then is disqualified the general rule would be that the player refund the winnings and the new winner given the winnings. To be certain of the race outcome sometimes it is best to distribute the winning at the end of the Race Day so any changes can be accommodated.
The last part of a sweepstake is the fun part. Now you grab your favourite hat, a glass of champagne and watch the race. The winner and place getters following the race gracious collect their winnings.
Don't forget that being a good sport and participating will help you build a great personal brand in the office. Just don't be tempted to drink too much and be memorable for a very different reason.
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