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

main__photo

Time to bet on DAZN?

The Financial Times brought the story of one of the gambling industry’s biggest potential challenger brands – DAZN – back to our attention this week, as it explored what’s next for the sports streaming service.

Shay Segev – the former Entain CEO who took the helm at DAZN in January – now has one key objective, according to the article: “to make the sports streaming group profitable and end its reliance on the pockets of billionaire owner Leonard Blavatnik”.

In order to do that, Segev is still exploring options relating to betting, ecommerce and digital assets such as NFTs, the piece said.

He also has grand ambitions for the service’s social element, it seems, with plans to engage viewers through features such as chat boxes, YouTube commentators, online ‘watch parties’ with friends, and of course the integration of betting and gaming.

According to the FT, DAZN is aiming to break even next year on $3.5bn of revenue before turning to profit in 2024. 

That will be a big challenge for the business, which posted revenue of $1.4bn in 2021 and hopes to increase that figure by as much as 78% to generate $2.5bn in 2022.

One thing which might help it achieve that goal is the launch of DAZN’s sports betting product in the UK next month. 

The creation of DAZN Bet was previously announced in April, and would see the brand launch via a partnership with gaming supplier Pragmatic Group. The new operator is now expected to start taking bets from UK punters in the very near future.

Segev told the FT that regulatory changes have seen the market shift away from a “heavy casino betting [with] high stakes” model.

“You can see the market is going: lower stake, recreational, mass market, more fun, more entertainment,” he said. “This is exactly what I hope DAZN will do.” 

Tencent exits NFT game

According to an article in UPI, Chinese technology conglomerate Tencent has decided to shut down one of its two NFT platforms due to a decrease in sales driven by the government’s monetary policy.

As far back as May, when crypto and NFT markets began to collapse and wipe billions of dollars of value from the industry, Tencent began the process of closing down the platform.

It transferred certain executives responsible for managing the platform to other projects in the last week of May, UPI reported, before deleting the digital collectible section from its Tencent News app.

The fall in sales that led to the closure was driven by Chinese government policies, which allow residents to buy digital collectibles but not to sell them in private transactions after purchase.

Due to a further crackdown on the use of digital currencies, there are no official secondary markets to offload NFTs, making it difficult for collectors to turn a profit.

Other tech giants in the region have also shown caution in the NFT space. Alibaba launched a digital collectibles platform in June, which has since disappeared from the internet. 

It was also revealed in June, however, that there had been a fivefold increase in the number of NFT platforms over the past four months, meaning users are likely to be going to unofficial secondary markets and platforms to trade their collectibles.

Crypto insider trading charges: the first of many?

Bloomberg posted a piece this week on one of the biggest scandals to hit the cryptocurrency world in recent months.

A former product manager at crypto exchange Coinbase Global was charged – alongside two others – with wire fraud this week, in the US’ first insider trading case involving cryptocurrency.

Ishan Wahi, Coinbase product manager, and his brother Nikhil Wahi were arrested on Thursday in Seattle. They and a third defendant, friend Sameer Ramani, also face related US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) civil charges. 

Prosecutors said Wahi shared confidential information with the pair about upcoming announcements on new crypto assets, which Coinbase would allow users to trade through its online exchange.

They also said he bought a one-way ticket to India after a Coinbase security director summoned him to the firm’s Seattle office for a meeting, but law enforcement were able to prevent him from boarding the flight on 16 May.

In the related civil charges, the SEC alleged that brother Nikhil Wahi and friend Ramani purchased and sold at least 25 crypto assets for a profit, nine of which the agency identified as securities.

The pair allegedly used ethereum blockchain wallets to acquire the assets and traded at least 14 times before key Coinbase announcements  between June 2021 and April 2022, generating at least $1.5m of illicit gains, prosecutors said.

According to the SEC, the investigation is ongoing. The Commission did not say whether it would pursue action against Coinbase for listing the tokens it had deemed as securities.

The exchange operator said in a blog post: “No assets listed on our platform are securities, and the SEC charges are an unfortunate distraction from today’s appropriate law enforcement action.”

About the author

photo
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.

Related Stories