Chris Carlson is an online gambling entrepreneur who moved to Minnesota from New York to get rid of his addiction in 2005 and stayed. He’s now cashed in his chips and sold his company to one of the state’s newest public companies for $8.1 million in cash and stock.
SharpLink Gaming, a $45 million company seeking to be a big player in sports and other electronic games, has acquired most of Carlson’s FourCubed’s private assets. Carlson refused to specify how the fate would be divided between him and the other main owner of FourCubed.
As part of the deal, Carlson, 44, is now the “Vice President of Remittances” at SharpLink, tasked with amplifying past success and recruiting more players to gamble with SharpLink clients in the burgeoning online gaming and sports betting markets.
“I am very proud that I…still stand in the gaming industry,” said Carlson, who struggled somewhat with FourCubed early on. “A lot of people have left, I am still here and got a good result.”
Rob Phythian, CEO of SharpLink, a veteran online gaming marketer in Minnesota, said FourCubed has excelled in securing “highly lucrative and recurring contracts and gaming revenue with many of the world’s leading iGaming operators” as well as “steadfast relationships with customers through high-tech, High-touch strategy and proven player transformation methodologies.”
In other words, these diversions and “fixed relationships” fueled the bottom line of FourCubed with repeat online players trying to beat the odds, over and over, whether they were participating in online gambling, fantasy sports or real-time competitions.
SharpLink has over 2.5 million players participating in online sports and fantasy sports betting platforms through its network, sports leagues and partner media sites. Phythian is relying on Carlson’s software platform to integrate with SharpLink to accelerate this trend.
“Rob has relationships with professional sports leagues and teams that we’ve never had access to,” Carlson said in an interview last week. “Hopefully we’ll hack it and make connections. We’ll have a lot of coverage online.”
And the way to make good money for SharpLink is to do more of what analytical software jockey Carlson did with “revenue sharing licenses” from online casinos and other betting operators instead of paying a one-time fee. He has proven to be very adept at providing lucrative casinos to clients.
Carlson said, “In 2015, I was promoting a game player, earning the account [the operator] 550 thousand dollars. I looked for the account for 2021 and it still earned $150,000.”
He said that the last time FourCubed marketed the account online was in 2015. “So these guys are still playing and making $150,000 a year.”
FourCubed, which has annual revenue of about $5.5 million, gets a significant portion of that spending without having to work for it. This is a “fixed” income.
More than 90% of FourCubed’s revenue stems from recurring contracts with many of the “world’s elite iGaming operators, including Party Poker, UNIBET, GG Poker, Bet365, 888 Poker, and others,” according to SharpLink.
Here’s Phythian’s $8.1 million bet: “We believe FourCubed’s technology platform, its team’s affiliate marketing expertise, as well as its approach to player conversions, can be easily adapted to the SharpLink platform, unleashing extraordinary value from our growing audience of sports fans as the adoption of SharpLink technology continues. Converting C4 sports betting into acceleration.
Despite these difficulties, I will stick to the entertainment with TV, swimming YMCA and walking in Lake Nokomis. And buy something interesting from the second-hand bookstore on the way home. I don’t gamble, other than what Grandpa St. Anthony taught me about Penny Booker when he lived with us in the early 1960s. I prefer rooting for junior and high school college kids.
But gambling is a growing business that makes millions for smart players and professional team owners. More states, and possibly eventually Minnesota, are allowing sports betting.
Carlson was a junior stock analyst in New York before giving up that for the most lucrative gig as a serious online poker player and recruiter. As a recovering alcoholic, he is not overly concerned about the business that is also likely to lead to more gambling addicts.
“In any society there is a small percentage prone to addiction,” Carlson said. “I don’t think coercion is the solution.” “I do not drink [anymore] But I don’t think drinking should be banned. Anyone can go to a gas station and buy [state-sponsored] lottery ticket.”