The Expansion of Stake.com Founders’ Investment in PointsBet

In recent developments within the Australian online gambling market, Ed Craven and Bijan Tehrani, the founders of Stake.com, have significantly increased their ownership stake in PointsBet, an Australian-based online bookmaker. 

Just around a week ago, the duo announced to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) that they had acquired 16 million shares of PointsBet, elevating their stake to over 5% of the company’s outstanding shares. 

This move is a substantial increase from their previous holding of 4.2% at the end of December. 

Stake.com’s Position in the Market

Stake.com operates as a grey-market entity. This designation means that while the platform is not licensed and regulated to the same extent as its white-market counterparts, it offers a safer environment for customers compared to black-market operators. 

Craven and Tehrani’s decision to invest in PointsBet aligns with their broader strategy to capitalize on traditional forms of wagering. Despite this strategic investment, it remains unclear whether they intend to fully acquire PointsBet in the future or not.

PointsBet’s Strategic Maneuvers

The landscape of PointsBet has been shifting over recent years. In 2023, PointsBet sold its US operations to Fanatics for $225 million, a move precipitated by the company’s struggle to secure a substantial market share in the United States. 

PointsBet’s management had warned investors of its challenges in competing financially in the US market, suggesting a strategic pivot might be necessary. Despite these setbacks, PointsBet continues to perform well in its home market of Australia and maintains promising operations in Canada.

The Role of Easygo Gaming

Easygo Gaming is a key player in the expansion of Craven and Tehrani’s stake in PointsBet, has been instrumental in facilitating this investment. 

A spokesman for Easygo Gaming conveyed confidence in PointsBet’s long-term strategy and trading performance, highlighting that Easygo’s investment portfolio spans beyond gaming to include entertainment, media, technology, and other wagering companies. 

This diversification reflects the founders’ broader ambition to expand their influence across various segments of the global media and entertainment industry.

Stake.com’s Ambitions and Challenges

Craven and Tehrani’s ambitions in the Australian gambling market date back to 2022 when they first indicated their intentions to diversify their assets and enter the legal Australian market. 

However, despite engaging with the Northern Territory Racing Commission, they did not formally apply for a wagering license. Additionally, their attempt to trademark the Stake Gaming brand in Australia led to a legal dispute with an existing share trading platform of the same name. 

Securing a wagering license in Australia involves rigorous probity checks on the business and its shareholders, a process that has yet to culminate in an operational license for Stake.com.

Stake.com’s Global Presence

Established in 2017, Stake.com has rapidly ascended to become one of the largest online casinos globally, handling hundreds of billions in bets across sports, virtual table games, and online slot machines. 

The platform’s expansion efforts include high-profile partnerships and sponsorships, such as signing hip-hop star Drake as a brand ambassador and securing sponsorship deals with Alfa Romeo’s F1 team and Everton Football Club in the English Premier League.

Local Operations and Global Strategy

Despite Stake.com’s operations being based out of Melbourne, Australians are legally prohibited from using the platform due to its lack of a local license and its use of cryptocurrency for betting. 

The founders continue to build the Stake.com brand internationally, navigating regulatory landscapes by operating under a Curacao license and establishing localized domains in key markets, including the United States and the United Kingdom.

Future Prospects

The recent acquisition of a significant stake in PointsBet suggests that Craven and Tehrani are methodically positioning themselves within the Australian sports betting market. While their long-term intentions remain unclear, their systematic investments and strategic alliances hint at a calculated approach to expanding their empire’s influence both locally and globally.

Conclusion

The increased investment in PointsBet by Stake.com’s founders is a noteworthy development in the evolving landscape of the online gambling industry. 

As Craven and Tehrani navigate regulatory hurdles and expand their portfolio, their actions will likely continue to shape the market dynamics in Australia and beyond. 

The future trajectory of both Stake.com and PointsBet will be closely watched by industry analysts and investors, as the potential for further consolidation and expansion remains high.