A bunch of seven Australian guys have figured out how they can have a boys’ weekend away, own shares in two racehorses and have a regular bet, all for about $75 a week and without copping too much flack from their partners.
It sounds like an alternate universe. And it appears it just might be.
The men, who are scattered all around Australia, are members of Punt Club – a startup which has developed an online platform enabling users to communally save for a common goal and take turns betting each week.
Business Insider spoke to Jamie O’Keeffe, who is a member of two punt clubs and an operations manager for a pharmaceutical wholesaler.
The first club he joined has 16 participants. Each of the guys, who all met playing footy, put $25 into the kitty every week – half gets banked the other half is used for betting on the ponies.
The winnings get funnelled back into their pool and they cash out to go to Melbourne’s Cox Plate race day in October each year.
“No one gets too much grief over $25 a week,” he said. “The only rule of [our] punt club is no girls.”
The punters’ savings over the 12 months cover the group’s travel costs to Melbourne, betting money while they’re trackside and a night out.
Last year the group started the day with $8,000 to bet and after a couple of wins walked away with $11,000. Each of the 16 members took home $500 each and the remainder paid for beers until the wee hours of the morning.
But the group doesn’t always win. O’Keeffe told Business Insider, one of its members Stuart Palmer has made seven of the group’s bets in two years, equating to $1400 and has never won a cent.
“It’s a national disgrace,” he joked.
“If someone has a bet and they don’t win you can sledge them.
“We’ve got some guys in out team that wouldn’t know one end of a horse from another – they’re in it for the social side.
“It’s not so much about the punting it’s about seeing guys you wouldn’t normally.”
The second club O’Keeffe has joined is where the business happens. Seven of the betting members started a second punters’ club to save up and buy shares in a couple of racehorses.
The men each chip in $50 a week into the second club which is called “Mr Would You Please Help My Pony” after a song by Ween. O’Keeffe said his wife wasn’t as pleased with him joining a second club.
“If I started another one we might be having a serious chat,” he said.
But in almost two years they’ve managed to buy 5% shares in two horses, Friend With Benefits and Dufficy, which are both racing at the moment and trained by John McArdle.
They’re aiming to accumulate between $25,000 and $30,000 so they can buy shares in better horses.
“For me it’s $75 a week I get a weekend away with the boys and a share in a couple of horses in the other one,” he said, adding the Punt Club platform means you don’t have to chase money from anyone – it removes the organisational “nightmare” from getting money and people together.