The largest online poker room in the world, PokerStars, is set to launch its online sports betting operation early in 2015, making the transition from online poker giant to multi-product and multi-channel gaming operator all but complete. The PokerStars Casino was launched in some jurisdictions toward the end of last year and the launch of the sportsbook will be sometime before the end of March with a date not being specified, and will be launched within the PokerStars 7 client. It’s not yet been made clear which markets Stars will target first, but they have stated that mobile versions of the sportsbook will also become available throughout 2015.
With the addition of the casino and now the sportsbook it all marks a decidedly different approach from PokerStars and one that now aims to provides an all round online gaming package and it’s something not all observers are happy with. One time PokerStars pro Victoria Coren actually left Stars because they added casino games, however others believe that there’s no harm at all being done to the brand and it’s simply natural expansion into other markets. There have indeed been many changes made since Amaya took over, with the increase in rake, the addition of the fun yet opinion splitting Spin and Go product and now the casino and sportsbook.
In other PokerStars news they are also strengthening the brand offline and launching a new live poker network at the City of Dreams Casino Resort in Manila. Stars do of course already have a massive presence in Europe due to their sponsorship of the EPT, their PokerStars Live poker room at the Casino Gran Madrid and their PokerStars Live London tournaments that are held at the Hippodrome Casino.
They would of course want their next move to be that of entering the regulated online poker market in the U.S and it looks as though that will happen in March when they enter the fray in New Jersey, with the hope being that the California market will be open for business at some stage in the not too distant future.