The $1 million punters club changing the face of racing – Racenet

Talk about betting with mates! How did your crew go on the weekend?
Of course, it was another busy Saturday – how many could boutique Moody train at The Valley? Is Don Corleone really Slipper material? Why wasn’t I at King Island too? Or what’s the Thomas Doyle story and that hair? All fair questions.
Winners are grinners at the Magic Millions Miners Rest Cup at King Island. Congratulations Robert Keys, Thomas Doyle, Tony & Calvin McEvoy and connections! We were proud to support the race and delighted to link with the winner! pic.twitter.com/aqTN7v5i5E
— Magic Millions (@mmsnippets) January 21, 2023

But how about you had $1,056,375 to bet with – of other people’s money, suggested to be about 15,000 of them.
That’s what the Boys Get Paid (BGP) Punter’s Club, had to play with (well invest) for their sixth year at the Karaka Millions meeting, at Pukekohe (not the traditional Ellerslie base) in New Zealand on Saturday.
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It matters little that the boys (and girls), didn’t get paid plenty, they will just get back half of their play-in money, but what a journey this group has been on and taken so many old and new ones on, as racing always tries to engage and grow a broader customer base.
“We were blown away by how many people were involved and quickly our balance to get to that level,” BGP founder, and thankfully a practicing chartered accountant, Luke Kemeys said.
“Obviously that was our biggest pool, we had a goal of about 10,000 people but we had 13,600 involved but with shares in syndicates we believe we had about 15,000 watching and involved on Saturday, it could have been higher,” he said.
???? Starting Pool for the 2023 Karaka Million Punters Club is:
$1,056,375
Lets go! pic.twitter.com/c8cpbhH5bL
— Boys Get Paid (@boysgetpaid) January 21, 2023

And that meant via their app, livestream on Facebook and YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, notification on New Zealand’s industry Trackside television channel, word of mouth, WhatsApp groups, whatever, all tuned into racing, all into the BGP punt!
“Basically, it is all about community and positivity,” Kemeys says.
“Obviously we take it all very seriously with that sort of money and responsibility, but we aren’t claiming to be professional punters, we are about entertainment and getting involved in racing with some light-hearted fun.
“Despite what might have been on Saturday, the feedback has been unbelievably good, the message has been about the thrill of the experience, something they couldn’t get from racing on their own.”
“Sure, it is a lot of pressure on the day, and sometimes to get to the end of it is more a relief, and Saturday was the first time we haven’t either returned the money back or made a profit, but that’s punting isn’t it.”
Has there been a bigger punter generated pool for a betting club than the NZ $1,056,375 for the @boysgetpaid play at @KarakaChat Millions yesterday @LOVERACINGNZ@TAB_Racing@WHR ? No matter the result, the involvement and engagement is what racing needs.
— Bruce Clark (@snowyclark) January 22, 2023

Like how this started. A group of like-minded punters in their late teens, early 20’s chatting on a Facebook group, growing, adding friends in, starting to socialise and then taking to the track for their favourite race day, the Karaka Millions with a plan for fun, a drink, and a punt.
“Back then we had a bank of $58,000 and 520 players,” Kemeys said, “And we doubled their money. Back then it was set-up an account bank transfers and reconcile them all, some 520 if them, but we got to fly up, meet our friends and enjoy it,” Kemeys said.
“I don’t think the industry could understand us when we first started, perhaps they thought we were just loud-mouthed louts and larrikins up in the grandstand having a good time, which we were, but it started to get more intense as we grew, more eyeballs on us and grown into something bigger than we could believe.”
So fast forward to last year when units (valued at $1) could be bought into the BGP Group by your New Zealand TAB account, a gamechanger in more ways than just punter’s club logistics, but a clever imprimatur by the industry (the funds were always in your TAB account) and the acquisition of a punter or their funds growing, a no-brainer.
“I think the average buy-in was around $70 to $80 but that refund goes straight to the TAB account, it makes it so much easier to administer obviously, imagine when we used to do it all manually (when it was a $100 ticket) and time consumed in answering emails, ‘did you get my deposit,”, ‘I gave you the wrong account details, and on it went, getting the TAB linked was a real game changer for the group,” Kemeys said.
???? Hey team,
Not our day today, but that’s how it goes.
We went into the day confident and finished with our tails between our legs a little.
It is always an honour to serve you all and have a crack on your behalf. Thank you for trusting in us. pic.twitter.com/ROrMdM50r8
— Boys Get Paid (@boysgetpaid) January 21, 2023

So much so that the promotion for Karaka Million 2023, was open for a month but included a “Secret Santa” gift, of buying a membership, and some few thousand accounts are suspected to have been opened. (Any bookmaker will tell you the value and cost of acquisition.)
But that’s not what Boys Get Paid are about. Look at some of their club rules.
– One shall not gamble the rent money
– The DM is for dating and mating, not abusing when losing
– A failed tip is not a call for the snip
– BGP is not a get rich scheme
– Members treat each other the way they would like their Mum to be treated
– Doing it in person feels better than doing it behind a keyboard
– Nobody shall withhold quality oil and then brag about their spoil
– Group 1 members still jump hurdles for maiden members
I think you get the message. While their first of only 10 bets on Saturday was a multi to win over $1m (sadly the first leg ran third), the play was obvious.
Kemeys and his group investment advisers (ok punters), Andrew Lacy and Ted McLaughlin, were hosting their now annual event and streaming all at Ellerslie while the races were running some 40 minutes away at Pukekohe.
Our last bets for the night!
Two superstars go to war with WILD NIGHT & LEGARTO
The lads think they’ll run the Quinella, so we’ve had a go at that and then a Powerplay with Prowess to run in the Top4. pic.twitter.com/qR8YRfDrvs
— Boys Get Paid (@boysgetpaid) January 21, 2023

“We started on Tuesday when the fields were declared and each did our form independently. It virtually comes down to a 2 v 1 approach, but we came up with who we liked and were focusing on our Powerplays and multis looking for the big results to get the interest rolling,” Kemeys said.
“We try to think of the pool without the zeros, so the million is 100, that helps us with the pressure a bit when we assess and make a call, but you can’t ignore what you’ve got.”
Hence bet 1 was a thumping early three leg multi (on the six-race card) with Tutukaka to win the first then into odds-on favourite Imperatriz into Maven Belle at $80k to win a tick over the teasing big $1m collect. Sadly for BGP, Damian Lane landed the first on Zee Falls, Tutukaka, two lengths behind in third, naturally the next two lobbing but the Boys sticking solid and having their biggest ever bet, $200k to win $500k on Maven Belle, which won by a millimetre.
He does it again@opie_bosson takes out the Almanzor Trophy on Maven Belle pic.twitter.com/gaEwoYZt7J
— TAB Racing (@TAB_Racing) January 21, 2023

It was a tough day of teasing multi plays around winner and top 4’s and as any punter will know can change the day’s results by photos, but hey that’s the punt, but BGP is so much more than that.
“The good thing is the number of people involved who have become more involved in racing, coming to our race days, going to Karaka Millions, buying into horses and some have developed into bigger owners, some into bigger breeders and even farms, it’s been quite incredible,” he said.
So heading into the Karaka 3YO Millions, the last on Saturday, the strategy was simple, back the two best horses, the unbeaten Legarto with Wild Night in the Quinella for their money back, Legarto to win, Wild Night to run second and Prowness for top 4 for double the money back in the multi.
Sadly, Legarto was never in a competitive spot, ran 4th, Prowness won, and Wild Night second. Close but no big cigar.
But that’s not the point here. It’s more the engagement, the theatre, OK the first time BGP have had a losing day, but no-one is a loser, when so many are playing and learning this game.
There have been copycats, but we haven’t been able to identify a bigger punter funded pool for such an event anywhere else in the world.
They, and racing, will all get paid in time and in spades.

Copyright © Racing Internet Services Pty Ltd. 2023
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