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How to run a sweepstake for the Cheltenham Festival

What is the Cheltenham Festival?

Known as ‘The Greatest Show on Turf’ the Cheltenham festival is one of the pinnacle events in the Horse Racing world.

Run across 4 days from Tuesday to Friday, it culminates in the flagship event - the Gold Cup - which carries with it the highest levels of prestige, glamour and of course payouts!

There are 14 Grade One races over the 4 days, pitting the very best horses, trainers and jockeys against each other to see who comes out on top.

Each day has its own title and feature race:

Tuesday -       Champions Day, featuring the Unibet Champion Hurdle
Wednesday -  Festival Wednesday, featuring The Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase
Thursday -     St. Patrick’s Thursday, featuring The Ryanair Chase and Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle
Friday -           Gold Cup Day featuring The Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup

This provides lots of opportunity to get involved by running a sweepstake with your friends or work colleagues which could be focused on the big event on the Friday - the Gold Cup - or across the week with who will be the most successful jockey or trainer. One thing is for sure, a sweepstake will allow everyone to get involved without it needing to cost a lot - maybe just have a £5 entry limit if there’s plenty of you involved. The ‘prize pool’ will be enough to make the winner smile but the cost won’t make anyone cry!

When is the Cheltenham festival?

The highlight of the jump season, the Cheltenham Festival in 2023 will be held from Tuesday March 14th to Friday March 17th.

How do I set up a sweepstake?

Firstly, let’s take a look at what a sweepstake is. A sweepstake is a contest usually based on major sporting events, where entrants pay an equal stake before choosing a team (or in this case a horse, a jockey or trainer) at random. In most scenarios, the name of every horse involved is placed in a hat before being pulled out blindly to ensure a random selection. The ‘hat’ can be very literally a physical hat, or feel free to use this generator that we’ve created:

This creates a ‘pot’ with the final amount up for grabs and for the Gold Cup alone there are up to 20 horses involved, so there’s the opportunity for 20 entry fees to be contributed to the pot. Don’t worry if you don’t have exactly 20 people to get involved though - you could offer everyone 2 picks for their entry fee for example, or if you have more than 20 people, don’t be shy about running more than one sweepstake simultaneously.

Following the event, the entrant who has picked the winning horse takes home the winnings (sometimes, the 2nd and 3rd place horses may also win a lesser amount of the total pot, or there may be a ‘wooden spoon’ award for coming last - depending how generous you want to be!).

How do I collect the money for a sweepstake?

So you’ve got commitment from everyone, the horses are all ready to be selected from your physical/virtual hat, but before you go any further you need people to chip in their entry fee. None of this works without the prize money, right?

This is the part where you may be scratching your head or preparing yourself for the dread that comes with chasing people up every single day for the entirety of the tournament to pay the entry fee you were promised days/weeks ago. It’s a surefire way to take the enjoyment out of something so fun. No matter how many reminders you send by WhatsApp, Slack, Teams, carrier pigeon, people still aren’t paying up.

The next problem comes in the slightly unusual form of actually receiving the money (yes, receiving the money can actually cause a problem), as you receive 20 different payments to your personal bank account on different days/times. All of a sudden you’re losing track of who has and hasn’t paid and the admin to keep up with has become a full-time job. You may also have a hybrid way of working which means a number of people want to give you cash in the office instead.

Now you’ve got a mixture of random coins/notes in your hand that need to be cashed into your bank, payments in your bank account hidden amongst your personal transactions and the ongoing problem of some people who haven’t got around to paying you because setting up someone new to pay on their online banking and going through this process has become a job for later, and then for tomorrow, and then for the day after…… (you get the point).

The easy way to collect money from a group of people

We’ve made it easy for you as an organiser to collect money and we’ve also made it super simple for contributors to pay into your pot. Setting up a Collctiv pot can be done in less than a minute and sharing the payment link or QR code with your group is even easier, no matter the channel you use to communicate.

People use the link/QR code to access the payment screen and then tap to pay into your pot using their desired payment method, including ApplePay and GooglePay. They don’t need to download an app, sign up to anything or do any banking. Within a couple of taps and 10 seconds later you’ve got your money. It really is that simple.
The money sits in the pot you’ve created for the specific event and can then be withdrawn to your bank account in a lump sum so it all remains ring fenced until you have the final amount in advance. Say goodbye to the time and effort that comes with scrolling through pages of lunch meal deals and morning coffees to find out if Paul from IT has actually paid the money he owes. Instead, you can track the total amount you’ve received along with the names of the people who have paid you.
Take back control of your time. Take away the friction of payment. Take away the excuses. Get paid what you’re owed.

Download Collctiv today to get started.

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Since 2019 Collctiv has helped over 500,000 people from 97 countries come together by making it simple for Organisers to collect money from groups. Whether it's gifts, group holidays or grassroots sports teams - download our free app today and start bringing people together!

Photo by Philippe Oursel on Unsplash
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