Posted on: February 6, 2024, 07:48h.
Last updated on: February 6, 2024, 07:48h.
Formula One racing team Sauber will be known by two names this season, “Stake” or “Kick,” depending on the gambling regulations in the country you live in.
At an unveiling event in London of its new-look C44, Sauber Group managing director Alessandro Bravi said the team’s identity would be changed in locations where its main sponsor, online crypto casino Stake.com, might be unpalatable.
Not least of these is Sauber’s native Switzerland whose Federal Casino Commission (FCC) has initiated legal proceedings against the team because of the unlicensed status of Stake.com.
Sauber has competed as Alfa Romeo since 2018, but the Italian luxury car manufacturer pulled out of Formula One at the end of the 2023 season.
Sauber will become the Audi factory team in 2016. That allowed Australia-based Stake.com to step in and secure naming rights for the interim two seasons.
Stake.com’s Meteoric Rise
Since its launch in 2017, the site has become the biggest crypto gambling platform in the world. As well as landing the Sauber gig, it boasts singer Drake as its brand ambassador and sponsors English Premier League club Everton. Edward Craven, its founder, has an estimated net worth of over $1 billion, according to The Australian Financial Review’s “Rich List.”
But Stake.com is largely a gray market operator. This means it is licensed in some jurisdictions, but it continues to operate in other countries that have not explicitly banned online gambling and do not offer any form of licensing.
Stake.com is ultimately licensed in Curacao and authorized to operate with different URLs in countries such as Mexico or the UK, although not always for cryptocurrency.
Online gambling is heavily regulated in Switzerland, which has a licensing framework for operators and has explicitly banned the unlicensed variety, which includes Stake.com. It also has very strict laws about online gambling advertising. That means Sauber could face a hefty fine as a result of FCC litigation.
Kick Into Gear
But Bravi attempted to appear upbeat about the Stake.com partnership and its confusing repercussions in London this week.
We will have also this year two different team names according to the different countries where we are going to race in order to comply with applicable local laws,” Bravi explained.
“Where Stake is prohibited because there are restrictions on gambling advertising, we will use Kick within our team name,” he added.
Kick.com is an online live-streaming platform that is a subsidiary of Stake.com’s parent company, Easygo Entertainment.