PlayUp has filed for a restraining order against its former US CEO, Dr. Laila Mintas, for torpedoing a potential $450 million sale to crypto exchange FTX following failed personal contract negotiations.
The suit alleges Mintas threatened to “burn PlayUp to the ground” after her demand to be installed as global CEO was rebuffed.
According to a lawsuit filed November 30 in Nevada, PlayUp started discussions with FTX for a sale of certain assets back in August.
However, Mintas contacted FTX founder Sam Bankman-Freid to warn him against the deal. Per the complaint, she told him: “There is conflict within management of PlayUP, there are systemic issues, and that the company is not clean.”
That ultimately caused the deal to fail, PlayUp claimed in the suit.
The Australia-based operator said Mintas sabotaged negotiations because she was unhappy with her own remuneration.
Per the suit, near the conclusion of her initial two-year contract, Mintas requested PlayUp’s global CEO position. That would require terminating current CEO Daniel Simic.
Additional requests included:
- Doubling her salary from $500,000 to $1 million
- An increase in her PlayUp stake to 15%
Mintas accused of threatening PlayUp
When PlayUp did not agree to the terms, Mintas allegedly sabotaged the FTX deal. She also threatened to “damage PlayUp’s reputation to gaming regulators, commercial partners, and customers.”
Per the suit, Mintas told PlayUp that FTX had offered to do a deal directly with her.
She believed she could take various licenses with her and threatened to “burn PlayUp to the ground” amid the negotiations.
Mintas’ contract expired at the end of November and she is no longer with the business.
Who is PlayUp?
PlayUp first hired Mintas in 2019 to lead its US expansion.
The company is live in NJ and Colorado.
Mintas said in November the operator would try to cater to price-sensitive punters.
District Court Judge Gloria Navarro granted PlayUp a temporary restraining order. Mintas has to reply today, with a preliminary hearing scheduled for Thursday in Las Vegas.
However, it is unclear whether Mintas will actually show. Emails released by the court showed they had trouble serving Mintas with the court papers at her Henderson address.
A male occupant at her home told the process server that Mintas had relocated to the Bahamas.
Mintas also told PlayUp lawyers she had the right to talk to gaming regulators as she had “whistleblower status.”
FTX could be a big deal in sports betting
It should not be overlooked that FTX is trying to get into US sports betting.
The company, worth around $25 billion, is known to have one eye on the sector. It has listed various sports markets on its non-US exchange, including boxing matches.
The filings suggest FTX was particularly interested in PlayUp’s gaming licenses. The crypto giant is presumably looking at other ways to get hold of those now.
No sports betting exchanges are live yet in the US, but FTX might represent some interesting new competition for the likes of Sporttrade and Prophet.