Stake.com, the cryptocurrency casino and betting platform, has been slapped with a monstrous $400m (£346m) lawsuit from a former associate who claims he was misled into not collaborating in the creation of the site…
Stake are the Curacao-based market giants who sponsor Everton and Watford football clubs, as well as UFC and Formula 1 driver Pietro Fittipaldi.
However, it is the company’s former life as Primedice that is the subject of the lawsuit, with Christopher Freeman claiming he co-founded the company alongside Stake bosses Bijan Tehrani and Ed Craven.
Freeman claims he had a 20% stake in Primedice, but his share was reduced to 14% by Tehrani (one of his classmates) and Craven, who owned 40% each and left the Primedice project to train instead Stake. com.
Tehrani and Craven’s original idea was to start a traditional fiat-currency online casino, says Freeman, who claimed he told them it was “the wrong direction to go” and to focus on online gambling based on cryptography was a better idea.
However, in 2016 Tehrani and Craven reportedly told Freeman he would have to move to Australia if he wanted to be part of the new venture.
Not wanting to do this, Freeman says his Primedice account and privileges were revoked and his old friends launched Stake.com as a crypto-based gambling portal without him.
Now valued at more than $1 billion, Freeman is suing for $400 million, claiming the company was built using his ideas, as well as his Primedice funds.
Stake UK, however, strongly rejected the lawsuit, saying Freeman’s version of events is “internally inconsistent, intentionally misleading and patently false”.
“This filing is a desperate attempt to spread false information and extort money that Freeman has no right to,” they said, adding, “The company has no intention of giving in to this kind of blackmail and is confident that these totally frivolous allegations will be dismissed by the court in due course.
Stake.com not welcome at Everton FC
This is far from the only controversy surrounding the crypto-gaming giants who claim to have processed over $100 billion in bets across its casinos and sports betting arms.
Last month we reported on the 30,000-person petition from Everton fans unhappy that their club had entered into a multi-year partnership with a gambling company.
“Gambling harms millions of people in the UK and kills hundreds every year, leaving behind broken and bereaved families,” says petition organizer Ben Melvin.
He added: “There are already 55,000 children addicted to gambling in this country and the impact is disproportionately felt in the most deprived areas – like the one our club represents. Advertising a product so dangerously addictive increases the risk of this number increasing.
“A partnership with Stake cannot sit comfortably alongside the fantastic work being done by the club’s Everton In The Community to tackle mental health issues. I call on my fellow Blues and fellow football fans to urge Everton to reverse this playing partnership.”