Being one of the most popular sports competitions worldwide, English Premier League is also one of the most profitable. So, it’s no wonder that PL clubs are attracting sponsorships from all over the globe. Lately, the most attractive sponsorship spots, those on the jerseys of English clubs, have almost completely been taken over by the established companies from the gambling industry, which is natural due to close connections between sports and betting. However, one of those businesses has found itself on the wrong end of a massive lawsuit.
State UK, a company operating in the crypto gambling market, has been hit by a lawsuit from a former partner of one of its owners and co-founders. The plaintiff claims that the current owners have stolen from him and pushed him out of business. Reportedly, he’s asking for a huge compensation worth $400m (£346m).
Recently, journalists from Guardian have obtained court filings that detail that the man behind the lawsuit is the Florida resident, Christopher Freeman. According to the filings, he claims that Primedice, the company that State UK grew out of, was his brainchild. The current value of State UK is estimated at around $1 billion. As of this season, the company is the jersey sponsor of Everton FC, one of the biggest and most historic English clubs.
Freeman was a school friend of Bijan Tehrani and Ed Craven, the duo that currently operates the company. The lawsuit states that all three of them worked together to get Primedice going. Over the last several years, the company has gone from an unknown newcomer in the gambling industry to one of the fastest-growing businesses in the industry. Besides Everton sponsorship, they also have a partnership in place with one of the most popular rappers, Drake, and deals with UFC and Brazilian-American F1 driver Pietro Fittipaldi. Plus, they sponsor Watford FC, a club currently competing in the second division of English soccer.
According to Freeman’s claims, after starting and building the company together, Tehrani and Craven slowly pushed him out of the business. In doing so, they used bullying and unlawful tactics. At last, that’s Freeman’s account which the company and its current owners strongly deny.
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The main point of contention seems to be how the Stake came to be. The plaintiff says that it was his idea to expand the business and make Primedice and more expansive crypto gambling platform. On the other hand, current owners, Tehrani and Craven, were more interested in developing a traditional casino.
The spokesperson for Stake UK addressed the situation and said that Freeman has no grounds for his claims and is simply trying to extort money by spreading false information and making frivolous allegations. Besides claiming that he has a right to an ownership stake, Freeman also made other, probably more serious allegations.
According to him, Stake UK encourages its customers to use VPN to gamble on the platform even when they’re not allowed to. As a reminder, crypto gambling is still illegal in both the US and the UK. As a result of the controversy, more than 30,000 Everton fans have signed a petition urging the club to cut ties with the company.