DraftKings has recruited ex-Amazon sports executive Marie Donoghue as chief business and growth officer.
Donoghue joined Amazon in 2018 as VP of global sports video for Prime Video and spearheaded the tech outlet’s push into live coverage.
She stepped down from her role earlier this month.
“We are delighted to welcome Marie Donoghue to our executive team and the immense wealth of experience she brings as a highly regarded leader and trailblazer within our industry,” DraftKings CEO Jason Robins said.
“Marie’s exceptional track record speaks for itself, and she is poised to be a transformative force in our company’s future success.”
In her new role, Donoghue will work closely with existing teams to “uncover new, sustainable growth opportunities” and bolster product and customer experience.
The New York Post described her as “one of the highest-ranking women behind the scenes in sports media.”
“I am thrilled to be joining DraftKings during this exciting phase and have long admired the organisation’s steady rise as an industry innovator,” said Donoghue.
“This is a special opportunity to expand on its industry-leading position and propel the company to new heights.”
Prior to Amazon, Donoghue spent nearly two decades at ESPN.
She initially joined the network in 1998 as senior director legal.
Over the years, she held different roles and last served as executive vice president, global business and content strategy.
News about a possible affiliate marketing deal between Barstool Sports and DraftKings made waves yesterday.
Nevada resident Steven Horn is suing Amazon for hosting and promoting free-to-play social casinos on its app store.
Citing a 2018 US appeals court decision which found social casino apps to be illegal under Washington state gambling law, the lawsuit alleges that Amazon has earned billions of dollars through an “illegal internet gambling enterprise.”
The plaintiff said he was addicted to online slot games and accused Amazon of offeirng more than 30 illegal casino apps to consumers, in a “dangerous partnership” with social casino operators.
“Despite knowing that social casinos are illegal, Amazon continues to maintain a 30% financial interest in the upside by brokering the slot machine games, driving customers to them, and acting as the bank,” the lawsuit said.
It added that Amazon plays a key role in the promotion of social casinos by providing the means for distribution of the games and the processing of payments from users.
Amazon also provides operators with “the technological means to update their apps with targeted new content designed to keep addicted players spending money,” the lawsuit alleges.
The plaintiff argues the result of Amazon’s partnership with social casinos is that players become addicted to casino apps and take out credit to continue funding their habit.
In 2020 alone, customers spent an estimated $6bn on social casino virtual chips, it added.
A further point set out in the lawsuit explains that social casino operations, being unregulated, do not need to follow the same rules as traditional land-based or online casinos.
One social casino CEO is quoted as saying: “Our games aren’t built to be bulletproof like you’d need to be if you’re a real gambling company. We can do things to make our games more [fun] that if you were an operator in Vegas you’d go to jail for, because we change the odds just for fun.”
The lawsuit suggested that this means that not only are social casinos illegal, their games would also not be legal under any state law “as they cheat players out of a legitimately randomised slot machine experience”.
“Not only can players never actually win money, but their financial losses are maximised by deceptive gameplay tweaks that would never be allowed in a physical slot machine,” it added.
The lawsuit alleged that these measures are used to increase the likelihood of addiction among users and therefore maximise the revenues of social casino operators.
The lawsuit can be viewed in its entirety here.
The plaintiff in this lawsuit is represented by Chicago law firm Edelson, which has previously secured hundreds of millions of dollars in class-action settlements in related litigation over social casinos.
The case is believed to be the firm’s eighth related to social casino apps.
In a previous case led by Edelson in June this year, a US judge approved a $415m class-action settlement to resolve claims that DoubleDown Interactive and IGT had violated Washington state gambling laws and consumer protection provisions related to social casino operations.
IGT and DoubleDown denied any liability and argued that the claims rested “on novel and untested interpretations of Washington’s gambling laws.”
After four years of litigation, however, US District Judge Robert Lasnik in Seattle federal court called the resolution “fair, reasonable, and adequate.”
Elsewhere, in July, Apple, Google and Meta warned a US Court of Appeals that if online platforms could be held liable for processing purchases of virtual chips sold by social casinos, “the entire internet economy could be at risk”.
The firms were appealing a 2022 ruling that they were liable for essentially acting as gambling operators by facilitating and earning commission on the sale of virtual chips in social casinos.
They argued that they were not liable for the sale of the virtual chips, which were created and sold by third parties.
GeoComply has recruited former Meta director of engineering Vadim Jelezniakov as its new chief technology officer (CTO).
Jelezniakov boasts quite the Silicon Valley CV. A one-year stint at Meta in Seattle was preceded by four years with Google as director of engineering for Google Cloud.
Prior to that, he spent more than five years as a senior manager for software engineering at Amazon Web Services.
Jelezniakov also rose through the ranks of the New York Times’ technology division, starting out as a senior software engineer in 2007 before eventually being promoted to executive director of digital infrastructure and engineering in 2011.
GeoComply said Jelezniakov had proven himself as a leader during an impressive 20-year career spent building and managing reliable and scalable tech platforms.
As the geolocation specialist’s new CTO, he will be responsible for driving the company’s technology strategy and overseeing the development of new products and services.
Vadim Jelezniakov: “This truly is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to scale a market-leading company.”
“My goal is to help drive innovation and growth in new and existing market verticals by leveraging new technologies and developing products and services that meet the evolving needs of our customers,” said Jelezniakov.
“This truly is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to scale a market-leading company,” he added.
According to its official website, GeoComply provides fraud prevention and cybersecurity solutions that detect location fraud and help to verify a user’s true digital identity.
Founded in 2011, the company’s geolocation solutions are installed on more than 400 million devices and analyse over a billion transactions every month.
The tech was developed for the regulated US online gaming and sports betting industry, but the company also provides solutions to sectors such as streaming and online banking.
On the appointment of Jelezniakov as CTO, GeoComply CEO Anna Sainsbury said: “With his impressive track record of innovation and leadership in the technology industry, I am very confident that he will help us continue to grow and stay ahead of the competition.”
The company secured private equity backing from two US groups at the start of the year and has since pledged to expand into cryptocurrency compliance.
“When times are good, you just throw headcount at it,” says one big name gambling CEO when asked what the hell is going on.
Why is everyone being laid off?
Gambling companies are often hot on the heels of leading tech companies when it comes to following the latest trends and developments. Only this time, the trend is a negative one.
Amazon is intending to lay off 18,000 workers. Twitter, Microsoft, Google and every Silicon Valley darling you can think of have also cut staff over the last six months. Flutter Entertainment, Hero Gaming, PressEnter and Genesis Global are just a handful of gambling firms to have followed suit.
This “trimming of the fat” is primarily because digital companies exploded during the Covid-19 pandemic and had to significantly increase headcount to meet customer demand.
Now that demand has dried up because people have gone back out into the real world. At the same time, the economy is putting a squeeze on everything and the light at the end of the tunnel looks likely to be a train.
During the depths of the pandemic, iGaming NEXT has learned that some gambling companies would hoard developers. Talented tech staff are few and far between, so if one became available, they would get snapped up for a rainy day, even if they were surplus to requirements at the time.
Such a frivolous approach has become harder to justify. With that said, leading online betting and gaming recruitment agency Pentasia insists recent high-profile tech layoffs have not affected the global demand for tech talent.
Is demand up or down?
Intensity and competition have actually increased, if anything: “As the fear of missing out on talent grips the market, we see clients adopting a more streamlined approach to hiring,” said Pentasia in a January Talent Market Update.
“Gone are the days of four to five stages. We’re now seeing jobs offered after just one interview. While this is still uncommon, two or three interviews is the sweet spot for securing a role.”
Tech roles are likely to be the most secure, then, but almost all others are under careful consideration because for once, gambling firms are feeling the strain. Once considered recession proof – and then recession resilient – their online gaming armour appears weaker by the day.
For public companies, investors take a magnifying glass to every penny spent and demand an explanation. For private companies, shedding staff is sometimes required simply to stay afloat.
Former Bally’s CEO Lee Fenton was the first iGaming executive to say the quiet part out loud.
When the Bally Bet operator slashed 15% of its US digital division workforce amid mounting losses, Fenton said: “The pandemic boosted our business and we continued to hire at full pelt. I now can see that we may have over hired in some areas, and I take full responsibility for that.”
While job losses undoubtedly come at a great human cost, investors often look favourably upon them. It shows that companies are taking their spring cleaning seriously as they look to get the balance sheet in order before results day. We are currently in the depths of Q4 season, don’t forget.
The best example of this recently was DraftKings. The US operator – which is second for market share in the US behind FanDuel having lost more than $3.5bn on OSB to date – sacked 140 employees in January. Its share price duly soared by 10%.
There is no room for sympathy on the stock market.
Ben Fried, head of betting and gaming at global executive search firm SRI, has been following this trend for a while. “A lot of these companies ramped up because demand through the pandemic had gone up as they were adapting to new market realities,” Fried tells iGaming NEXT. His favoured example is one outside of gaming, with online car retailer Cazoo.
Cazoo was convinced it had conquered the market by promising to deliver new cars direct to customer doorsteps. But then the dealerships reopened, and it became clear that people wanted to drive a car before buying one. Who knew?
The cost of consolidation
Over hiring is not the only factor that has caused these gambling companies to swell. Consolidation is a constant in our industry. Every time a deal completes, there is a risk that two people are employed for one job. Something has to give, although that hasn’t always been the case, according to Fried.
When Flutter Entertainment set out to become the biggest corporate bookmaker in the UK by swallowing up the likes of Sky Bet and Paddy Power Betfair, each brand had its own CEO and continued to operate almost as separate entities.
Fried – a former Betfair manager himself – thinks back to that time: “I said aren’t you going to synergise the business? I was told there was no immediate need as they were growing and making money, so there was no need to create these cost synergies.
“I think the problem is that has now changed,” he adds.
And it has changed quite significantly. Flutter was arguably ahead of the curve on this topic. As exclusively reported by iGaming NEXT last summer, the operator committed to making sizeable redundancies across its UK & Ireland division following an internal review. Was the writing on the wall?
Clear Edge Malta’s Luke Imeson: “There are more candidates available with recent redundancies, but companies are more hesitant to hire.”
The operator said the UK’s operating landscape had changed by such a degree that it was forced to respond to the “more challenging” external environment. “Now they’ve created a more streamlined and efficient structure as far as I understand it,” says Fried.
The recent combination of 888 and William Hill has created similar unrest. The joining of two culturally opposed leadership teams (one online Israel and the other retail UK) means there are not only two people vying for one position, but also two vastly different executional management styles. Potentially a case of too many cooks in the kitchen?
888 made a host of cuts across its Israeli tech office a matter of weeks before CEO Itai Pazner was ousted for very different reasons, while Ulrik Bengtsson, the last permanent CEO of William Hill, departed before the deal was done.
“Those people will look very good on paper,” says Fried, commenting on the casualties. Indeed, the CEO at the top of this piece can attest to that. A leading recruitment specialist told him recently that he has never seen so many C-level CVs on the market.
“Even when we put out roles now, we get super senior CVs sent to us on mass,” says the anonymous chief exec. “It is definitely shifting to become the employer’s market.”
Were gaming companies too trusting?
Another driver behind this “Covid correction” is that it arguably takes far longer for employers to realise their employees are not up to scratch in a remote or hybrid working environment. Was this easier to gauge while working alongside each other in an office? Are companies now paying the price for putting too much trust in some of their staff?
On this point, the majority of newcomers during the pandemic were hired with a specific job to do. What if those jobs have now been completed?
“I think some big companies have realised that a lot of these people they hired, they no longer need,” says Luke Imeson, iGaming business manager and director at Clear Edge Malta. “A lot of these tasks have already been fulfilled, whether it be creating a new product, launching a new brand, or entering new markets. They then have the perfect excuse [to get rid].”
Imeson, a former customer experience manager at William Hill, is more closely aligned with our secret CEO than he is with Pentasia. He says: “We’ve been in a massively candidate driven market over the last year. There have been a lot of jobs open and very few candidates available to choose from.
“Now we are in a situation where there are more candidates available with recent redundancies, but companies are more hesitant to hire,” he adds, before reiterating that iGaming is a highly robust industry.
So in conclusion, iGaming companies are hesitant to hire but trigger happy. This is a dangerous combination for employees, who now find themselves in an unusually precarious position.
As the power shifts back to our employers, we should ask one question. Does my contribution justify my salary?
If the answer to that question is no, then strap in, because 2023 could be a very bumpy ride.
Major stock price crashes for tech companies including Meta, Amazon and Google have stoked fears among investors amid a worse-than-expected Q3 period.
Shares in Facebook owner Meta collapsed by more than 24% following the release of the tech giant’s Q3 report this week, which showed brands spending less money on marketing with the firm amid global economic uncertainty.
Investors wiped some $89bn of value from Meta’s market cap yesterday (27 October) as the business reported its second consecutive quarter of declining revenues.
The Guardian’s UK technology editor Alex Hern went further, suggesting the share price collapse is proof that the firm’s “metaverse plan never really had legs.”
He suggested that Meta’s focus on emerging virtual and augmented reality in an attempt to become the world’s leading business in the web3 and metaverse space was a gamble which has so far failed to pay off.
And now in spite of its faltering revenue, the company is predicting further cost increases, with expenses expected to grow more than 10% further over the course of 2023.
Shares in the social media giant are currently down more than 70% over the course of 2022, having slipped under $100 per share this week. In January, shares traded for as much as $338.
Jim Cramer begins to cry and apologizes on being wrong on $META pic.twitter.com/c8qoB8iv3m
— unusual_whales (@unusual_whales) October 27, 2022
Amazon, meanwhile, saw its share price dip by as much as 19.8% in after-hours trading yesterday, after the firm fell short of expectations in its Q3 earnings report.
Both revenue and operating income came in below analysts’ expectations while lower-than-expected Q4 guidance caused a stir among investors.
Elsewhere, shares in Google parent company Alphabet have dipped 5.7% over the past five days, as it suffered a similar fate to Meta with ad spend down among businesses during a period of macroeconomic uncertainty.
Net profit at the firm dropped by 27% year-on-year, although still came in at a seemingly healthy $13.9bn.
Collapses in the value of these blue chip businesses will likely send shockwaves across different industries as Q3 season continues, not least in the technology-driven iGaming sector where investors have become accustomed to high levels of share price volatility.
Large-cap gambling stocks have also faced a tough year, with shares in market-leading firms such as Evolution down by 20.1% in 2022 to-date and Entain down by 25.6%.
Those businesses have fared better than others, however, with shares in 888 as one example collapsing nearly 70% since January.
Twitch has revealed more details regarding its ban on the streaming of high-profile online gambling websites such as Stake.com.
The ban, which officially came into force on 18 October, prohibits the streaming of slots, roulette and dice games on sites that are either not licensed in the US, or in other jurisdictions where appropriate consumer protection standards apply.
Outlining its stance for the first time, Twitch said sites that don’t offer deposit limits, time-out periods or age verification systems would be outlawed.
Initially, the ban will apply to Stake.com, Rollbit.com, Duelbits.com and Roobet.com. These sites have now been blacklisted in the Twitch community guidelines, with more domains likely to be added in the future, as and when breaches are identified.
Linking to the blacklisted sites in the chat box has also been banned.
“At Twitch, we continuously evolve our community guidelines to balance creative expression with community safety as the internet and our community itself evolves,” said the company in a statement.
“Last year, in order to address scams and other harms stemming from questionable gambling sites, we prohibited sharing links or referral codes to sites that include slots, roulette, or dice games.
“After monitoring the update’s impact for the last year—as well as hearing directly from you—it became clear that some people were circumventing those rules, and that further steps were necessary.”
Twitch: “We know this may be an adjustment for some, and will be levering warnings in addition to suspensions in applicable cases in order to be fairer to streamers who may not have understood the change yet.”
Twitch originally announced the further steps and the adjacent ban in September. It caused quite the controversy at the time, as slots streaming is incredibly popular on Twitch. It was also a crucial source of revenue for several of the platform’s most influential personalities.
In the latest policy update, Twitch has warned content creators to observe the ban or face enforcement action via a traffic light-style leniency system.
“As with all of our policies, your account may receive an enforcement if you stream these prohibited sites,” said the firm.
“That said, we know this may be an adjustment for some, and will be levering warnings in addition to suspensions in applicable cases in order to be fairer to streamers who may not have understood the change yet.”
Following news of the ban, many were speculating over the future of high-octane casino streams where content creators wager huge sums, often in crypto.
Drake for example is a Stake.com brand ambassador. Last weekend – before the ban came into force – the rapper won $12,240,000 on a single roulette spin, just hours after losing $833,000 on a sports bet following Barcelona’s defeat to Real Madrid.
Sports betting, fantasy sports and poker streams are still permitted on the platform, but the future of non-US licensed casino sites remains unclear.
A quick scan of the Slots homepage on Twitch now features videos promoting MGA-licensed online casino sites and games, instead of Curacao-licensed sites such as those blacklisted.
Germany’s new gambling regulator (GGL) welcomed the policy change from Twitch, but said this was only the “very first step” in the right direction.
Twitch is owned by Amazon. It was bought in 2014 for $970m.
Some industry observers believe Amazon is the driving force behind the toughening stance on “unsafe” iGaming as it wants to become the primary infrastructure and cloud solutions supplier to the US online gambling industry via its Amazon Web Services (AWS) division.
Twitch has pledged to prohibit live streams of high profile gambling sites from next month, sending shockwaves through the sector and leaving many unanswered questions.
Live gambling streams are a mega money business on the Amazon-owned streaming platform.
Some of its most popular content creators live stream for tens of hours a day while playing slots and casino games on Curacao-licensed sites including Stake.com and Roobet.
Those sites, which are not licensed in the US or subject to the same levels of consumer protection standards, will now be banned from the platform on 18 October 2022, according to an official statement posted to the Twitch Twitter account at 11pm on 20 September.
An update on gambling on Twitch. pic.twitter.com/lckNTY9Edo
— Twitch (@Twitch) September 20, 2022
The tweet has since gone viral, earning 37,000 retweets at the time of writing.
Gambling on Twitch has inspired some major online controversies in recent times, despite being promoted by high profile celebrity ambassadors and influential content creators.
For example, Canadian rap star Drake – arguably the most successful commercial musician of the last decade – regularly streams live while placing bets with cryptocasino operator Stake.com, which has never been licensed in Canada or the US.
Twitch’s most watched streamer of the last two years is Canadian personality Félix “xQc” Lengyel. In 2021, his streams amassed nearly 275 million hours of views.
xQc regularly goes live with gambling streams. He places huge wagers, often more than $100,000 per spin.
There are transparency issues with gambling streams like this.
Often, the casino operator will fund the streamers so they aren’t gambling with their own money. This makes them more likely to adopt risky playing behaviours or bet more than they can afford. But this is not always obvious or apparent to their audience.
Speaking of audience, age-gaiting is another major concern when it comes to Twitch and gambling. According to Twitch, the average age of a user is 21, with an estimated 20% of global users aged between 13- and 17-years-old – and therefore too young to gamble.
The most recent controversy – and indeed the one that appears to have broken the camel’s back – unravelled earlier this week and centred around Manchester-based content creator ItsSliker.
It transpired that ItsSliker had borrowed money from other popular Twitch streamers to fund his gambling addiction and never managed to pay them back.
He asked for the money, often under false pretences, and gambled it away on online casino games.
When the news came to light, some of the most influential personalities on Twitch – including Pokimane, Mizkif, and Devin Nas – threatened to go on strike and stop uploading videos until gambling sponsorship was banned on the platform.
They have been heard loud and clear, according to the latest statement from Twitch, which name-checked high profile sites such as Stake.com, Roobet and Duelbits, among others.
ItsSliker: “I’m going to fix my addiction. I don’t need to explain how big it is. It has made me into an ill person. It has made me into an evil person.”
ItsSliker has been offline since his last upload two days ago, which was filmed before Twitch made its move to ban certain gambling sites.
“I want to say I’m going to go to rehab. I’m going to fix my addiction,” said ItsSliker on camera. “I don’t need to explain how big a thing it is. It has made me into an ill person. It has made me into an evil person.”
Several leading streamers, including the aforementioned xQc, have now vowed to pay off the people he scammed.
As the news of the ban filtered through last night, casino streamer Roshtein was in the middle of a live stream while playing slots on Stake.com.
Roshtein boasts more than 1.1 million followers on Twitch. As the live chat informed him of the message from Twitch, he sat silent for the most part with his head in his hands. He repeatedly said, “oh my god”, before asking: “What does that mean for us?”
He then suggested YouTube as an alternative streaming platform.
Streamers will understandably be looking for alternatives from 18 October. It is a major source of income to most, and there is also insane demand for live slots streams.
One option could see streamers come together to create their own casino gambling platform. This would allow them to circumvent the rules and regulations as it would most likely be run by an entity entirely separate to Amazon or Google.
Watch this space.
DraftKings has been selected as the sponsor and exclusive pre-game and in-play odds provider of Thursday Night Football (TNF) on Amazon’s Prime Video.
The multi-year collaboration, which begins this week on 15 September, will see DraftKings deliver pre-game content and unique betting offers every Thursday throughout the NFL season.
As part of the agreement, TNF will also feature DraftKings integrations in the live pre-game, including odds and additional sports betting insights, while the firms will collaborate on TNF-themed offerings including same-game parlays, made available on the DraftKings Sportsbook app.
“The NFL season is the most active time of year for our customers, so collaborating with one of the world’s leading technology brands in order to offer engaging content to viewers of TNF on Prime Video is a tremendous opportunity for DraftKings,” said DraftKings CMO Stephanie Sherman.
“Prime Video is an innovator in live content and we both have a similar focus on constantly improving our customers’ experiences. We look forward to working with Amazon to bring millions of viewers a premium and enhanced experience during TNF on Prime Video all season long and for years to come,” Sherman concluded.
DraftKings CMO Stephanie Sherman: “The NFL season is the most active time of year for our customers, so collaborating with one of the world’s leading technology brands in order to offer engaging content to viewers of TNF on Prime Video is a tremendous opportunity for DraftKings.”
Danielle Carney, head of NFL sales at Amazon Ads, added: “We are thrilled to collaborate with DraftKings to bring fans more insights and excitement as part of the TNF viewing experience.
“DraftKings content will contribute to lively pregame discussions, fan engagement and, perhaps, some bold predictions from our on-air talent.”
This deal marks DraftKings’ latest sporting event sponsorship. The operator already holds partnership deals with MLB and the NBA, as well as with the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens and more niche sporting events such as the Drone Racing League and Professional Fighters League.
While it is widely accepted that DraftKings’ investment in marketing and customer acquisition has been exceptionally high, in August the firm revealed that it had beaten its Q2 earnings forecasts, generating $466m in quarterly revenue and a narrowing loss per share of $0.29, its lowest quarterly EPS loss in over a year.
The nomination committee of affiliate group Raketech has proposed Clare Boynton and Pierre Cadena be elected as new members of its board of directors.
Boynton brings experience across a number of industries to Raketech, the firm said, having worked with some of the world’s biggest global brands including Unilever, KFC and Amazon, as well as highly regulated businesses such as RSA Insurance.
Boynton currently works as an independent finance director and CFO, supporting a portfolio of early-stage businesses to plan and fund their growth and build out their finance teams.
In addition to being elected to the board of Raketech, Boynton will be proposed as chair of the company’s audit committee.
Cadena is an LA-based US citizen with experience across the iGaming and affiliate marketing industries, in addition to experience in M&A, which Raketech said will further strengthen the firm’s position, particularly in the US market.
Cadena previously held senior positions in strategy and business development with the world’s largest anime video streaming company, Crunchyroll, in addition to gambling industry experience with Caesars Interactive Entertainment.
Currently, Cadena is chief strategy officer at gaming-focused consultancy firm SCCG Management, founded by industry veteran Stephen Crystal.
Cadena is also a general partner of the SCCG Venture Fund, an alternative investment fund also focused on the gaming industry.
In addition to the two new members of Raketech’s board, existing chairman Ulrik Bengtsson is expected to remain in the position, alongside existing members Johan Svensson, Erik Skarp and Magnus Gottås.
Current board members Annika Billberg and Fredrik Svederman have declared that they will not stand for re-election.
If approved, the board reshuffle will take place at Raketech’s annual general meeting on 17 May 2022.
Earlier this year, Raketech revealed that acquisitions in the US market, including sports affiliate P&P Vegas Group and tipster portal provider ATS Consultants, had helped drive a 40% revenue increase in Q4 2021, to an all-time high of €11.8m.
Revenue was primarily driven by the casino vertical, which accounted for 77.9% of the firm’s income, but sports betting revenue saw growth of 149.5% year-on-year during the quarter.
The business said it expects the US to generate some 20% of its total revenue in Q2 2022.
DAZN Group has appointed Shay Segev as its sole CEO amid plans to add sports betting and e-commerce opportunities for end users to its flagship sports streaming service.
Segev first joined DAZN in June of last year as co-CEO alongside the business’ co-founder James Rushton. He arrived from FTSE 100 operator Entain, where he spent five years in executive roles, including four as COO to Kenny Alexander and one year as the firm’s chief executive.
As of today (17 January), Segev will take sole charge of DAZN, the over-the-top subscription video streaming company that pitches itself as the sports version of Netflix.
While pursuing global expansion and broadcast rights across multiple sports and markets, DAZN is also keen to explore sports betting opportunities.
Shortly after arriving from Entain, Segev persuaded Ian Turnbull to join the business from Amazon Web Services (AWS) as EVP of betting and gaming.
It remains unclear which path DAZN will take to enter the sports betting arena. The only certainty is that it will do so, as reinforced by DAZN chairman Kevin Mayer below.
He said: “DAZN has become the global leader in sports streaming in just five years and it is time to take this business to the next level.
“Shay’s technology background and outstanding history of delivering a strong performance culture will be hugely beneficial as DAZN introduces additional interactive fan engagement services such as betting and e-commerce for users to enjoy alongside our core offering of live sports streaming,” he added.
Former co-CEO Rushton will continue with his existing responsibilities and will be tasked with overseeing growth in local markets, rights and content.
Meanwhile, Darren Waterman has joined DAZN as CFO from Amazon, where he worked as a finance director for Prime Video for more than six years. He will be based in London.
Waterman replaces Stuart Epstein, who will continue in the role of senior adviser to and member of the DAZN board after the transition process is complete.
DAZN was founded in 2015 and is owned by the UK’s richest man, Ukrainian-born Sir Leonard Blavatnik, who according to the Sunday Times Rich List 2021 has amassed a personal fortune of £23bn.
According to Reuters, DAZN could this month tie up an $800m deal for Premier League and UEFA Champions League rights holder BT Sport.