Crypto Casino Made $2.6B in Gaming Revenue Last Year
Stake reportedly pays Canadian rapper Drake, who frequently gambles in bitcoin, $100 million per year to endorse the crypto-friendly casino
Moe-Shot Photo Stock/Shutterstock, modified by Blockworks
Some folk view crypto trading as gambling more than investing. Two ambitious entrepreneurs made the most of it by starting crypto casino Stake in 2017.
Stake has since sprung up to become the seventh-largest gambling group in the world by revenue, per the Financial Times, which cited data from strategic advisory firm Regulus Partners.
DraftKings, one of the most prominent sports betting firms, lags behind. Stake generated nearly $2.6 billion in gross gaming revenue last year alone, the Financial Times reported.
That’s up from 1.8 billion Australian dollars ($1.2 billion) in 2021 and a big jump from just $105 million in the year prior.
Stake’s founders, 27-year-old Ed Craven and 28-year-old Bijan Tehrani, were childhood friends who met on online roleplaying game RuneScape, per the FT. They teamed up to create a crypto dice gambling platform Primedice when they were around 20. Craven is now considered Australia’s youngest billionaire.
Primedice ultimately became the foundation of Stake’s beginnings, with the new venture offering video poker, casino games and sports betting. It accepts both fiat and cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, ether, dogecoin and bitcoin cash, among others.
The site attracted several “high-rollers” — people willing to spend on gambling lavishly — due to big-budget marketing meant to tame the stigma tied to both crypto and gambling, according to Craven. A goal was to reassure customers that the founders wouldn’t run off with their money, a somewhat common occurrence in some areas of the crypto market at the time.
Canadian rapper Drake signed a $100 million-per-year endorsement deal with Stake.com in 2022, the FT said, citing two people familiar with the matter. Drake has reportedly won $38 million by gambling bitcoin on the platform. Blockworks has reached out for comment.
The crypto casino also has the support of some big names, including sponsorship deals with Premier League club Everton and Alfa Romeo’s F1 team.
Other major online gambling sites focus on tightly regulated markets, but the bulk of Stake’s regular users (which the FT reported as 600,000) hail from more loose jurisdictions across Southeast Asian countries, Japan and Brazil.
Stake reportedly has minor gambling operations, not involving crypto, in the US and UK.
It hasn’t been all rosy, though. Former business associate Christopher Freeman, who worked on Primedice, sued Craven and his co-founder for $400 million last month, arguing they secretly betrayed him by misleading him about the nature of their next venture.
Crypto might still be in the throes of crypto winter. But at least in Stake’s case, there’s no bear market for gambling.
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