KeyStar names ZenSports co-founder Thomas as new CEO

| By Robert Fletcher
KeyStar Corp, owner of mobile betting operator ZenSports, has announced the appointment of Mark Thomas as its new chief executive with immediate effect.
Matt Wilson

Thomas takes on the role having served as chief product officer at ZenSports since June last year when KeyStar, which previously focused on ecommerce and information services, acquired ZenSports and esports tournament specialist Ultimate Gamer.

Prior to the acquisition, Thomas was CEO of ZenSports and also co-founded the operator but took on the role within KeyStar when the deal went through.

Now as CEO of KeyStar, Thomas will focus on B2C sports betting and assume responsibility for ZenSports launching in the US.

Before launching ZenSports in November 2016, Thomas spent time as the vice-president of professional software at Realtor.com, while he had a spell as CEO of Reesio, a business he also co-founded and which was acquired by Realtor.com.

He also served as senior product manager for employee management solutions at Intuit and co-founded SayHired, WorkYourCareer and Thomas Executive Resources.

“I am thrilled and honoured that the board has asked me to lead KeyStar Corp as its new CEO,” Thomas said. “The ZenSports platform is an innovative brand that is leading the future of sports betting and we have the right team and product in place to grab a significant share of the US sports betting market in the coming years.”

KeyStar chairman Bruce Cassidy added: “Mark has done a great job previously with ZenSports, growing the business in the European market and obtaining a Nevada gaming licence in 2021. We have full faith and confidence that he will be able to do the same under KeyStar moving forward.”

In taking on the new CEO role, Thomas succeeds John Linss, who stepped down from the position and left the business.

“We thank John Linss for his service to KeyStar Corp, including his work on finalising the acquisition of ZenSports,” Cassidy said. “The board has decided to take an approach of focusing the company solely on B2C sports betting for the foreseeable future and Mark Thomas is the perfect fit to lead these initiatives given his prior experience with ZenSports.”

KeyStar was incorporated in 2020 and originally described itself as operating in the spheres of ecommerce and convention services, although the ZenSports deal last year expanded its operating remit.

ZenSports offers a range of sports betting, esports, digital currency, payment, NFT, content curation and identity solutions, while it secured a Nevada gaming licence in August 2021. 

At the time of the deal, it was noted that it would not include ZenSports’ Nevada assets or gaming licence, and KeyStar will look to secure its own Nevada licence in the future. In the meantime, KeyStar has been leveraging ZenSports’ sports betting technology to grow in other strategic jurisdictions.

Meanwhile, KeyStar said it would host and manage all esports tournaments under the Ultimate Gamer brand, except for those incorporating sports betting. All sports wagering takes place within the ZenSports brand.

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