Stake.com founders increase stake in PointsBet

Ed Craven and Bijan Tehrani now own 5% of PointsBet through their Easygo Gaming vehicle

Australian billionaires Ed Craven and Bijan Tehrani, the founders of cryptocurrency gambling platform Stake.com, have broadened their investment holdings with a larger stake in ASX-listed online bookmaker PointsBet.

Through their Easygo Gaming vehicle, the pair now own more than 16m shares or 5% of PointsBet, which is a significant increase from the 4.2% stake they first reported having in December, reported the Australian Financial Review.

An Easygo Gaming’s spokesman said the investment reflected confidence in PointsBet’s long-term strategy and recent trading performance. He added that Easygo had investments across gaming, entertainment, media, wagering, and technology sectors and was “actively looking for new opportunities within the global media and entertainment landscape”.

The duo has been seeking to diversify their assets into Australia's legal gambling sector since last year. They held talks with Northern Territory Racing Commission (NTRC) but did not formally apply for a wagering license there. They also filed a trademark application for the Stake Gaming brand that prompted legal action from another company calling itself Stake.

Established in 2017, Stake.com is one of the world's largest online casinos that has processed hundreds of billions of dollars worth of bets on sports, virtual table games and online slots. It operates globally out of Melbourne but is registered in Curacao.

Last year it signed up Canadian rapper Drake as a brand ambassador and secured sponsorship deals with Alpha Romeo F1 team and English Premier League side Everton FC. However, its games are not available to Australian punters due to restrictions on cryptocurrency wagering.

PointsBet is based in Melbourne and has been attempting to grow its market share in Australian online wagering after selling its US business to FanDuel for $225m last year. CEO Sam Swanell told shareholders in July it aimed to be EBITDA-positive by the next financial year post-sale.

The company recently said its forecast normalized earnings loss for FY21 would be $4m to $6m, well down on previous guidance of $9m to $14m loss, citing strong trading performance, operational efficiencies, and enhanced productivity.

Swanell said despite undertaking a complex technical and operational migration, the company had delivered strong results and intended to keep investing in the product. PointsBet has an approximate 5% online market share and is on a positive trajectory.

EasyGo's strategic investment in PointsBet comes at a tough time for the wagering sector as it faces economic headwinds and potential advertising restrictions during sports events.

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Written by Silvia Pavlof

Silvia has explored various forms of writing, ranging from content creation for social media to crafting movie scripts. Drawing on her experience as a journalist specializing in the gambling sector, she is currently investigating the impact of cryptocurrencies and blockchain on traditional gambling and iGaming.

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