High stakes as billionaire's crypto gambling firm sued

A cryptocurrency gambling firm created by billionaire Ed Craven and supported by hip hop megastar Drake could be hampered in plans to bring its offerings to Australian punters.

Stake bills itself as a "leading online crypto casino" where players can use Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin and other cryptocurrencies to gamble on sporting events and online games such as slot machines, blackjack and roulette.

Established by Melbourne-based Mr Craven and his American business partner Bijan Tehrani, the firm is incorporated in the Caribbean island nation of Curacao.

Barred from providing its gambling services within Australia, Stake has applied for a casino licence and registered a number of trade marks in preparation to enter the market.

This activity drew the attention of Sydney-based share trading platform Stake which last week filed a Federal Court lawsuit against its casino namesake seeking to bar the firm from using the Stake brand.

In court documents seen by AAP, the investment firm said it had already built up reputation and goodwill within Australia through its use of the name.

It argues the crypto gambling company breached the law through its use and threatened use of the Stake name which suggested to consumers that the two firms were connected when they were not.

Statements made on the casino's website, including its e-shop which is accessible to Australians, were false and misleading, the share trading platform said.

A spokesman from Stake said as the third largest broker in Australia, the trading firm had established a "trusted and culturally relevant" brand and a high level of consumer trust.

"We are concerned by the threatened use of the Stake brand in Australia by Stake.com in relation to gambling, casino and sports betting services, due to the potential for customer confusion and damage to our brand and reputation," he said. 

"We have therefore commenced legal action against the Stake.com companies in the Federal Court of Australia."

The court has been asked to make orders prohibiting the gaming company and its related entities from using the Stake name when promoting itself in Australia.

In January this year, the gaming company announced a sponsorship deal with the Alfa Romeo Formula One team which led to its logo being displayed at the Melbourne Grand Prix.

Canadian singer Aubrey "Drake" Graham has also entered a partnership with Stake, live-streaming with players through the Stake website and posting Instagram stories of him gambling on the site.

The firm claims it had 840 million casino bets through its website in June and is responsible for almost six per cent of all Bitcoin transactions worldwide.

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