The Rise of Crypto Casinos: Stake’s Billion-Dollar Success Story

This is the story of the two men behind the rise of crypto casinos like Stake, the streaming platform Kick, and even the sponsorship of a Formula 1 team.

Ed Craven and Bijan Tehrani, founders of, have transformed the online gambling industry by leveraging the success of their crypto casino into a billion-dollar empire. According to a report by Forbes, the duo’s innovative approach and strategic marketing have catapulted them into the ranks of the world’s youngest self-made billionaires.

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From Runescape to Stake – The Beginnings

Craven and Tehrani’s journey began in the early 2010s when they met online as teenagers. Their initial venture involved creating a betting system for the online game Runescape, allowing players to wager on fights using in-game digital gold coins. Although this venture was ultimately shut down by the game’s creators, it set the stage for their future in online gambling.

By 2017, Craven and Tehrani had founded, now the largest offshore crypto casino globally, generating $2.6 billion in revenue last year alone. Despite the legal challenges and restrictions in major markets like the United States, the United Kingdom, and much of Europe, Stake has thrived, primarily due to the founders’ aggressive marketing strategies and willingness to operate in legal gray areas.

Stake Sauber F1 label
The current Kick Sauber car sponsored by Stake.

Stake’s rapid growth can be attributed to the duo’s early adoption of cryptocurrency.

In 2013, when Bitcoin was valued at around $100, they developed Primedice, a simple game that allowed users to bet Bitcoin on the roll of a virtual die.

This venture was profitable enough to become a full-time job, leading to the establishment of their company, Easygo, in Melbourne in 2016.

Easygo launched Stake the following year, offering a range of games and a sportsbook, all using cryptocurrency for transactions.

The timing was fortuitous. By late 2017, Bitcoin’s value had surged, attracting a growing number of people who saw it as the future of money. Stake capitalized on this trend, offering better odds by operating with minimal oversight from its offshore base in Curaçao, where it could keep costs low and offer competitive advantages to players.

Stake’s founders have not only invested in their casino but also in high-profile marketing deals. They have sponsored Formula 1 teams, English Premier League jerseys, and UFC octagons. Their ambition for legitimacy and mainstream acceptance has driven these investments, with Craven emphasizing the importance of overcoming public skepticism about their business.

Crypto Casino Stake’s Strategy – Streaming Sponsorships and Kick

A significant part of Stake’s strategy has involved collaborating with content creators. By paying popular streamers on platforms like Twitch to gamble using Stake’s funds, they have managed to attract a young, risk-tolerant audience.

This approach was particularly successful during the pandemic, which saw Twitch’s viewership soar. Their partnership with rap superstar Drake in 2022 further boosted their visibility.

Image: Facebook.

Despite their success, Craven and Tehrani are keenly aware of the need for legitimacy and compliance.

With more countries enacting online gambling regulations, Stake has started hiring legal and compliance staff, enhancing customer verification processes, and expanding into regulated markets in the U.K., Portugal, Italy, and Colombia.

The founders are also diversifying their business interests. In late 2022, they launched Kick, a livestreaming platform designed to compete with Twitch.

Despite initial losses and challenges related to content moderation, Craven and Tehrani remain focused on growth, believing in the long-term potential of their ventures.

The ongoing success of Stake and the strategic decisions made by its founders highlight the significant impact of crypto casinos in the modern gambling industry. As Craven and Tehrani continue to innovate and expand, their story serves as a testament to the transformative power of cryptocurrency and online gaming.

For more details on this story, refer to the original article on Forbes.