Unregulated, new gaming site to offer prize money for choosing hot stocks

A model wears app makeup to promote AppStox, an online gaming platform based on the stock market and cryptocurrency launching in the fall. (Epstox via Twitter)

At the height of the meme-stock frenzy, “Apps Together Stronger” was a battle of sorts for investors loading up on shares of GameStop (GME), Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY), AMC Entertainment (AMC), and former Canadian technology darling BlackBerry. Had to cry (BB.TO)(BB).

reference to planet of the Apes The movies, where primates overthrew the human race, were appropriate in early 2021. For the novice traders who coordinated short-squeezes on Wall Street funds that bet against these out-of-favour companies, it was all about reclaiming the stock market for the average people. Making money fast during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Now, a Canadian gaming industry lawyer is building an app-inspired online gaming platform where players compete by predicting how stocks and cryptocurrencies will trade, risking an entry fee of only between $1 and $1,000.

Brian Hall is a co-founder of Appstox, and an attorney at the Toronto law office of Lazarus Charbonneau. Hoping to capture the dominance of online forums like Reddit’s Wallstreetbets, he envisions a player leaderboard where pro traders are publicly ranked against self-taught investors. His plans also include a “World Series of Trading” tournament with a prize of $10,000,000.

“There’s a lot of chest-pounding in this space,” explained Hall. yahoo finance canada In a video interview from St. Martin, where the company is partly based. “If we do this right… there’s going to be a class of celebrities who are born that way.”

Appstox is about to launch this fall with two modes of play. A simple “high or low” version presents securities or crypto coins, asking players whether they will trade high or low in the allotted time. In the “open market” version, players are given fake currency to invest in, and ranked on their returns. In both cases, the prize pool is determined by the game’s entry fee, of which Appstox collects a percentage.

“If you hold a 1,000 player tournament with a $1,000 purchase, that’s a million dollar prize pool,” Hall said. “Maybe first place will walk away $500,000.”

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He sees the privately owned business as an eventual takeover target for American casino giants such as MGM Resorts (MGM) and Caesars Entertainment (CZR) as they pursue millennial and Gen Z customers, and a growing interest in the stock market. want to redeem.

I believe that if it ever got there, a judge would agree with Mebrian Hall, Appstox co-founder and Canadian gaming industry attorney.

Hall says a major selling feature is the lack of licensing or regulatory hurdles typically required in the gambling industry. Based on his legal background, he says Epstox falls outside the jurisdiction of provincial and state regulators that typically oversee casino, horse racing and sports betting operators. He explains that the distinguishing factor is that choosing stocks and crypto is a skill.

“The prize is distributed entirely at the player’s choice. There is no element of card or RNG (Random Number Generator) or chance,” Hall said.

A spokesperson for AGCO (Ontario’s Liquor and Gaming Commission) says Epstox has not registered with the agency, or been analyzed by its gaming lab. In an email, Raymond Knert says that AGCO “is not in a position to comment on the nature of the game, and whether it is a game of chance, a game of skill, or a game of mixed chance and skill.”

“I believe that if it ever went there, a judge would agree with me,” Hall said. “AGCO is well aware of this difference. They have been in court several times on this issue, so I am not worried that they are going to attack us.”

Apstox plans to apply a minimum age of 18 to volunteer on the site. Hall says tournaments will be limited to stocks on major exchanges and large cryptocurrencies to reduce the risk of players using insider information, or manipulating securities from outside the game.

Given the success of fantasy sports giants DraftKings (DKNG) and FanDuel in shaping public policy in major US states such as New York, Hall says he really favors relationships with regulators at some point.

In Ontario, however, DraftKings, FanDuel and others recently discontinued their paid fantasy sports offerings due to new internet gambling regulations that consider practice gambling, and require players to be physically located in the province. is needed.

AGCO spokesperson Knert also noted that Ontario’s iGaming rules “prohibit betting on asset and financial markets (such as stocks, bonds, currencies, real assets).”

“understood [regulation] As a way of protecting our market share if we get bigger, because it hinders competitors from coming in, I welcome it, especially if we’re leading the market.”

Jeff Lagerquist is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. follow him on twitter @jefflagerquist,

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