Hot copy: Stories that caught our eye this week from around the sector

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How much?!

Casino-focused news portal Bigwinboard revealed this week that the now notorious iGaming brand Stake paid one of its livestreaming influencer partners some $360m for promoting the brand to his followers on Twitch.

Following this week’s rule change on the platform, brands like Stake will no longer be featured on Twitch, after users became frustrated with the apparent lack of consumer protection that went along with high-stakes livestreamed casino play.

One of the major figures of Twitch’s casino hayday was Trainwreckstv, who recently spoke out against the rule change and slammed the platform as “corrupt”.

On 19 October, while streaming video game Overwatch 2 with some of his friends, the streamer revealed how much he had been paid by Stake for promoting its brand to his followers.

He said: “I’ll release what I got paid since the beginning of my contract. I’ve been paid $360m for 16 months of gambling.

“You wanna know what’s crazy? Of that $360m, I’ve given away off-stream and on-stream like close to $70 million. Like $75 million. Think about that,” he added.

Trainwreck later removed the clip, but not before Bigwinboard had the chance to publish its article on the extraordinarily high figures being discussed by the influencer.

The author added that Stake, alongside other crypto-focused casinos including Rollbit and Roobet, have long been suspected of giving their affiliates fake money player accounts in order to enable them to promote the brands on Twitch.

With Canadian rap star Drake betting upwards of $20m on roulette in a single play session (his net worth is reported as being around $250m), perhaps it is not unwise to suspect such influencers aren’t always playing with their own money.

Fortunately for those concerned with consumer protection, following the introduction of Twitch’s new gambling rules this week the prevalence of this kind of play being livestreamed to audiences across the globe now looks likely to dwindle.

Joey Levy says sports betting needs to get Betr

Micro-betting startup Betr continued to splash its name across the headlines this week, as the firm’s CEO and Simplebet co-founder Joey Levy sat down with ESPN for an interview about the state of US sports betting.

He told the Disney-owned outlet that he believes the legal sports betting market currently taking shape in the US is not sustainable, as it is geared towards experienced bettors and not mass-market consumers.

“The sports betting operators today, with their money lines, point spreads and over/unders, are really only interpretable for people who have been betting on sports before,” he told ESPN staff writer David Purdum, before going on to explain just how Betr intends to do things differently.

“The ethos we really want to emulate here is this is all about entertainment value for the consumer, right? Sports betting needs to be all about how we enhance the way a mass-market, mainstream consumer in this country engages with sports. 

“This needs to feel similar to a consumer going to the movies and spending $20. They don’t get anything in return for that $20, except for two hours of entertaining. That’s how operators in the space should be approaching it,” he said.

He also shed some light on an announcement he made at last week’s Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, namely that the firm will set its sights firmly on responsible gambling with the introduction of a ban on credit card betting and strict deposit limits for under-25s.

“People talk about responsible gambling and how it’s important to them, but I don’t think anybody’s actually taking any actions that reiterate it to their employees, regulators and, most importantly, to the consumers themselves that it’s really important that you gamble within your means,” he told Purdum, firing shots at others in the industry who he thinks are “just trying to extract as much money from people as possible when they’re betting on sports.”

He added that he wants to introduce a more honest experience for punters, not shying away from the fact that “the house always wins in the long run.”

Instead, Levy insisted that Betr was about providing additional entertainment value for mass-market sports fans, who want to enhance their experience of watching sports with fast-paced but low stakes action, with little-to-no barriers to entry for the uninitiated.

Levy’s mission statement puts some meat on the bones of Jake Paul’s claim that Betr wants to create the “TikTok-ificiation of sports betting,” and, perhaps, helps clarify just exactly how Betr intends to carve out its market share in the extremely competitive US online betting industry.

And, in stark contrast to what casino operators like Stake appear to want, he concluded when asked about sensible stake limits for microbetting: “Do I think people should be able to bet millions of dollars on individual outcomes of sporting events? Probably not.”

Who are the top earners in US sports betting?

This week, Business Insider posted a deluge of information that would usually be kept under wraps: the salaries of a host of different jobs within major US sports betting and iGaming companies.

Using data from 79 work visa applications filed with the US government and decided on between October 2020 and June 2022, the outlet was able to publish a decent range of positions and give a realistic idea of how much people in the burgeoning industry stateside are bringing home.

Among the highest earning positions were, perhaps unsurprisingly, tech-related roles with some of the biggest operators in the US. A senior software engineering manager at DraftKings, for example, can expect to earn as much as $229,000 a year, while senior data engineers could take home up to $202,500.

Almost all of the positions listed at DraftKings had salaries well in excess of $100,000, with a handful of senior positions topping the $200,000 mark. Even a non-senior software engineer role comes with a salary range of $100,500-$145,000, according to the article.

FanDuel is DraftKings’ competitor not only in the consumer market but when it comes to securing talent, too, it seems, with roles at the Flutter Entertainment-owned market leader being compensated along the same lines. 

A data science director at FanDuel was reported to make $196,100, while a senior manager in data science brings in $170,000.

The figures begin to slip among those companies with smaller market shares in the online space, however.

At Rush Street Interactive, for example, even the C-level role of chief information officer has a salary range of $152,000-$160,000, a relatively modest compensation package when viewed alongside the rest of the list.

And at Penn Interactive, a lead data engineer would make $150,000 while a lead animator or visual effects specialist could bring in around $106,000.

It seems that whatever transpires with regards to the US betting industry, and which companies eventually emerge victorious in the sector, those putting in the work on the ground aren’t doing so badly in the meantime.

About the author

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Conor Mulheir

Conor entered the gaming industry in 2018 producing high-level live event content for audiences in London, Amsterdam and São Paulo. From 2020, he went on to report news and commission exclusive content for various gaming media brands before joining iGaming NEXT as editor in January 2022.

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