Drake could be asked to give evidence in Stake.com court case


Hip-hop superstar Drake and representatives from Everton FC could be asked to give evidence in a blockbuster court case brought against the young Australian-based founders of cryptocurrency casino Stake.com.

Drake has been the lead ambassador for the Melbourne-headquartered online casino that was set up by Ed Craven and Bijan Tehrani in 2018 and has grown into one of the world’s largest online casinos.

Drake is one of the world’s most successful musicians. The Canadian rapper is also a key ambassador for Stake.com.Credit:AP

This masthead revealed this year that Craven and Tehrani had been hit with a claim for $US500 million ($716 million) in New York courts by Christopher Freeman, who claims to be a former business partner of Craven and Tehrani and worked on an earlier casino site, called Primedice, set up by the duo. Freeman claims he was cut out of the business when they decided to set up Stake.com in Australia.

Stake.com operates a popular suite of online casino games and a very successful sports betting business, but unlike regular online casinos, punters can only bet using cryptocurrency, rather than fiat cash. Stake.com has no relationship with local share trading start-up Stake.

Freeman filed his claim after an investigation by this masthead in 2021 unmasked Craven and Tehrani as the founders. Since the media investigation, 27-year-old Craven has been dubbed the country’s youngest ever self-made billionaire by The Australian Financial Review’s annual Young Rich List. (Tehrani, 29, is a US citizen and precluded from the list but is also estimated to be worth more than $1 billion.) The Coffs Harbour-raised Craven recently splashed some of that cash, breaking the Melbourne house price record in 2022 with his purchase of a Toorak home for $80 million soon after picking up another home in the neighbourhood for $38.5 million.

Ed Craven and Bijan Tehrani at the offices of EasyGo Gaming a group they set up to provide games for Stake.com.

Ed Craven and Bijan Tehrani at the offices of EasyGo Gaming a group they set up to provide games for Stake.com.

Over the past 12 months, Stake.com’s marketing activities have drawn increased attention in the US and the United Kingdom, where the group is the lead jersey sponsor for EPL team Everton. Stake.com has taken a creative approach to marketing its products, including the use of ambassadors and sponsorships in the UK and US, which unlike Australia, have stricter limits on gambling advertising. It also recently set up Stake.us which allows customers in US states where online gambling is legal to play on the site.

Freeman recently expanded his claim against Stake.com and its founders to allege that Stake.com is actively courting US customers through high-profile events in America.

“Despite a prohibition on cryptocurrency gambling in the US, Craven and Tehrani target customers in the US, including in New York State, by marketing Stake.com through its Stake.us subsidiary website and through various direct marketing efforts,” Freeman’s updated claim alleges.

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