After two months of running the beta version of its sportsbetting platform via the PokerStars 7 (PS7) software, the world’s largest online poker site announced last May 29, 2015, the full integration, and authorised launch in the UK, of the PokerStars sportsbetting segment. Notification messages sent to UK-based poker players announced the official inclusion of the online sportsbetting products and services as additional betting entertaining.
Although the range of betting options is still limited compared to those offered by established online sportsbook operators, observers opine that the odds offered appear comparable to those offered by the likes of leading UK bookmakers Betfair and William Hill. As of this writing, the new PokerStars online sportsbook is accepting bets on a comprehensive line-up for basketball, football, handball, ice hockey, rugby union, tennis, and volleyball markets.
Prior to the sportsbook launch, PokerStars came out with a press release last Wednesday, announcing the sponsorship contract signed with world-renowned football legend Cristiano Ronaldo, as newest addition to Team PokerStars. Actually, the announcement merely confirmed the buzz circulating across poker sites and networks, ever since Ronaldo’s social media pages carried a photo showing the football legend playing with a deck of PokerStars branded cards.
As previously stated in the operational highlights mentioned in Amaya’s latest financial reports, the full rollout for both online and mobile sportsbook offering is expected to attain completion before year 2015 ends. The announcement of the official launch last Friday is for the UK market, as the expected rollout dates in other specific jurisdictions across other poker network sites are slated for completion during the second and third quarters of 2015.
PokerStars parent company Amaya Gaming, through CEO David Baazov, had previously voiced plans of taking the customary measured steps in introducing the sportsbetting vertical. The purpose of which is to ensure that no major slip-ups would be encountered along the way. The Amaya CEO regards the sportsbetting vertical as quite significant, having the likeliest potential to become Amaya’s second moneymaking segment.
Based on current statistical analysis of online poker players, around forty percent (40%) to fifty percent (50%) maintain sports betting and casino accounts in other online betting and gaming platforms. This makes adding a sportsbetting channel to the PokerStars client, a logical move. Customers will surely welcome the convenience of being able to transact and track gambling transactions using a single account and e-wallet solution. According to CEO Baazov, cross selling the sports betting and poker gaming services, “cuts both ways.”
As it is, the company intends to maintain focus as a poker-first gaming entity. The Canadian gaming firm had in fact embarked on initiatives that would see the company becoming a business-to-customer (B2C) enterprise, instead of continuing with its previous business-to-business (B2B) undertakings. Such initiatives included selling the Ongame Poker network, and subsequently other B2B business assets Chartwell and Cryptologic (Amaya Alberta), to the NYX gaming Group, as well as Cadillac Jack Inc. to Apollo Global Management LLC.