PlayUp Former CEO Sabotaged US$450 Million Deal

Ben H / 31 December 2021

PlayUp, an Australian bookmaker that currently operates in the US states of New Jersey and Colorado, alleges its former CEO Laila Mintas of sabotaging a US$450 million deal that would have seen FTX, the cryptocurrency exchange,  purchase some parts of the Aussie bookie.

PlayUp filed a restraining order against its former CEO, who the betting operator claimed was unhappy with her remuneration and role in the company, so she intentionally sabotaged the lucrative FTX deal.

Asked for the Global CEO Position

The lawsuit alleges that Dr. Laila Mintas privately threatened to “burn PlayUp to the ground” when her request to be installed as the company’s global CEO was turned down.

The sports betting operator goes on to claim that it entered into discussions with FTX to sell some of its assets to the crypto exchange. However, the former CEO contacted Sam Bankman-Freid, the FTX founder, to tell him that there was a “conflict within the management of PlayUp.”

She also warned him about “systemic issues” inside the company, which she said was “not clean.” Those warnings, PlayUp said, were the reason why the whole deal collapsed.

In addition to asking for the global CEO position, Mintas also demanded that her salary be doubled from US$500,000 to US$1 million. She also requested that her PlayUp stake be increased to 15 per cent.

PlayUp hired Mintas in 2019 and gave her a two-year contract that expired in November. If her request to be appointed as PlayUp’s global CEO was accepted, Daniel Simic, the company’s current CEO, would have had to resign from his position.

FTX Wants to Enter US Sports Betting and Gaming

Mintas torpedoing the FTX sale was the headline that has grabbed everyone’s attention. However, it shouldn’t go unnoticed that FTX was very close to entering the US sports betting industry via that deal too.

Even though the PlayUp deal failed, the US$25-billion crypto exchange will probably try to get into the US sports wagering market again. FTX already has some experience in sports wagering. It lists a lot of sports betting markets on its non-US exchange, including boxing matches.

In the lawsuit, PlayUp said that FTX was particularly interested in the gaming licenses the betting provider held, so that’s another market segment the crypto exchange probably has an eye on.

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Ben H
Ben Harris is the Communications Manager for KRUZEY, an AFL expert, and writer. He has one daughter that he loves dearly and four children's books... [Read full bio]

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