Analysis; Three Questions From PlayUp Saga With Mintas, FTX

Written By Brad Allen on December 20, 2021 - Last Updated on April 3, 2022
PlayUp

PlayUp got the gaming world talking this week with news it is suing its own former US chief, Dr. Laila Mintas.

As a quick recap, PlayUp filed for a restraining order on Mintas. The Australian company alleged she undermined a a potential $450 million sale to crypto exchange FTX.

Mintas said all the accusations in the filing “make no sense.”

As the court hearing approaches in early January, here are some key questions from the ordeal:

Is PlayUp actually worth $450 million?

That was the price tag self-reported by PlayUp in its legal filings.

There was a term sheet between the two companies filed with the court but PlayUp has since had that redacted.

However sources questioned whether FTX was ever going to pay the full $450 million.

“That’s an insane number for a company that is recently live in two states, with a handful of licenses and no real technology to speak of,” said one industry exec.

Another pointed out that PlayUp can make that claim in the lawsuit with relative impunity, thanks to litigation privilege

What now for FTX in US sports betting?

There is some hope at PlayUp that the FTX deal is salvageable, but it is very likely off the table.

“Dragging FTX into [the filings] was stupid,” said one source. “FTX will never speak to them again.”

FTX still has designs on the sector, though, including plans to launch a US sports betting exchange.

Who FTX could grab

Analyst firm Eilers & Krejcik listed three potential acquisition targets for the crypto giant to aid its entry into the sector:

  • Maximbet
  • Smarkets/SBK
  • Pointsbet

“All have long been associated with sale rumors and would come with two critical components: market access agreements and in-house technology,” Eilers said in a note.

All about that access

Access is likely the greater priority at present for FTX.

“They think they can do the underlying tech in-house,” a source said. “They just need a vehicle that has the licenses they want without an insane market cap”.

TheScore might be another option with some licenses available following the Penn takeover.

What happens to Mintas’ ownership stake in PlayUp?

Though she is no longer CEO of PlayUp USA, Mintas still owns 7.5% of the wider company.

PlayUp does, however, have a clause in its constitution that allows it to forcibly buy out shareholders if they are damaging to the company. 

Whether PlayUp can prove that might be a legal battle of its own.

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Brad Allen

Brad has been covering the online gambling industry in Europe and the US for more than four years, most recently as the news editor at EGR Global.

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