They sponsor poker tournaments around the world, have the best players amongst their ranks, and have dealt over 120 billion hands online. And now they’re building on their reputation and expanding into the sportsbook and wider casino industry.
Of course, it’s of little surprise. The brand have been a familiar face in sport for some time now with both Rafael Nadal and Brazilian football legend Ronaldo posterboys for the brand, even taking each other on in The Duel just a few months ago.
The former Real Madrid striker has promoted a number of football promotions for the brand, particularly during the World Cup, and have built up a following as they look to add sportsbook to their line-up in 2015.
The sports betting industry has grown phenomenally over the last few years and by the end of 2016 is expected to be worth $70billion by 2016 according to a report by the European Gaming and Betting Association, making it an extremely lucrative market to break into.
The launch of the PokerStars sportsbook will roll alongside casino games which have already begun to land on the site, with blackjack and roulette landing at the end of November with the aim of reaching around half of their current members by the end of the year.
And they’ll come with some of the lowest blackjack margins in the industry, catering for both high rollers and the beginner.
It isn’t the brand’s first move into casino however, with the move coming after a successful trial on sister site Full Tilt and Spanish offshoot PokerStars.ES.
Eric Hollreiser, who heads up Corporate Communications with PokerStars said, “We thoroughly researched the opportunity and spent a lot of time talking to players and analysing the behaviour of our customers on PokerStars.ES and Full Tilt.
“Those launches have been successful in reactivating dormant customers and extending the value of our existing poker customers.”
What they found was that around 30% of the sites’ poker-playing customers played casino monthly too, whilst half of Full Tilt casino players admitted it’s the only online casino site which they play.
It’s expected that the sportsbook will be just as popular, especially with the power of Ronaldo and Nadal behind them, although the brand are still focussed on looking after their current customers, including those who prefer a poker-only environment.
For those wishing to only use the site for its primary use, PokerStars have enabled features that grant customers the ability to remove casino and sports betting out of sight, as well as being able to opt out of marketing and promotions of the games.
We can expect both sportsbook and a full-featured casino on both web and mobile in 2015, as the blackjack and roulette continue to land on a market-by-market basis. More games will follow, and the option for us to take a punt on all the big games, from the FA Cup Final, to the Copa Del Rey, to the German Bundesliga.