Ed Craven and his crypto bookmaker Stake.com have been going from strength to strength after the pandemic. Sure, there were a couple of hiccups along the way, especially when rap star Drake won US$38 million (A$56 million) in Bitcoin after gambling on the site. Incidentally, celebrity bettor Drake is also one of the high-profile celebrity endorsers of Stake.
So, when Craven says that it was a tough morning when he realized that his partner raked in over A$50 million in winnings on his website, you can certainly understand the pain.
Stake Becomes the 7th Largest Gambling Company in the World
Despite the rap star breaking his partner’s bank, Stake has been on a real winning run of late. The business launched in 2017 and has been operating largely unnoticed until recently when it became a top-ten gambling group.
Stake.com is still behind gambling industry heavyweights such as Flutter Entertainment and Entain. However, at 7th, it has higher 2022 gross gaming revenue figures than the likes of DraftKings, 888, and Unibet-owner Kindred Group.
According to the Financial Times, Stake.com generated revenue of almost US$2.6 billion (A$3.88 billion) last year. To see how far the bookie has gone in just a couple of years, compare that revenue with Stake’s 2020 GGR figures. Back then the crypto betting site generated only US$105 million.
A former Stake.com employee said that one of the reasons for that huge increase in revenue was the number of high-stakes bettors wagering on the Stake website. The former Stake team member said that people in the company told stories of a Singapore woman putting her hand down for a million dollars, a Russian guy doing the same, and lots of other similar occurrences.
Still Profiting from Early Bitcoin Bets
Seeing the company grow so rapidly must be really exciting for Ed Craven and co-founder Bijan Tehrani, who before founding the business in 2017, used to play at crypto sites themselves.
Craven and Tehrani were not even 18 when they started playing RuneScape, an online fantasy game. They invited other players to join them and also started wagering digital gold coins. However, they were soon banned for what they were doing and had to look for alternatives.
So, they created an online crypto-gambling site in 2013, when Bitcoin’s price was ten thousand times lower than what it is today. Those early crypto wagers, the co-founders said, have been funding their business endeavours ever since.
Overcoming the Stigma of Crypto Wagering
However, crypto gambling came at a price. As Craven said, not everyone trusted that he would not run off with their bet stakes. So, speaking to the Financial Times, the Stake.com founder was happy to have overcome the crypto wagering “stigma.” To get there, though, they needed to spend tons of money on advertising.
Craven said that they had to invest heavily in marketing because they were “up against some very large competitors,” rivals who were also “very established.” However, that investment paid off, as that advertising created “an implied warranty” for the product.
In addition to high-rolling rapper Drake, who according to insiders, is on a US$100 million-a-year endorsement deal, Stake.com has also entered into partnerships with EPL club Everton and the F1 Alfa Romeo team.