After months of rumors and speculation, PokerStars, the world's largest online poker site, announced the launch of BetStars, a new sports betting brand product of the Amaya Inc. family.
In a note sent to the media on Friday, Dec. 18, the poker room explained that BetStars will be initially available on a limited number of jurisdictions on the domains www.BetStars.com, www.BetStars.eu, and www.BetStars.uk, and on dedicated iOS and Android free mobile applications that are already available on the AppStore and on GooglePlay.
The plan, however, is to make the portal available in more countries during the next year, as the press release states that "this is the next stage of development of PokerStars' new sportsbook offering, which will continue to be rolled out during 2016."
As initially reported here on PokerNews on December 7, Amaya has already secured a number of international domains including Germany's BetStars.de, Italy's BetStars.it, Denmark's BetStars.dk, Spain's BetStars.es, and Portugal's BetStars.pt, leading many to think the company will soon start to offer sports betting services also in these countries.
France might as well see the launch of a dedicated BetStars product in the near future, as the domain BetStars.fr appears to be owned by ComLaude, a London-based domain name management company that many believe to have conducted the operation on behalf of PokerStars.
We're applying the same dedication and passion we have for poker to sports betting and intend to create an authentic, world-class offering.
"We're very excited about the launch of the BetStars brand, and expect it to be one of the most talked about sports betting sites in 2016 as it continues to evolve with new products and features that we believe will set us apart as a betting brand for the true sports fan," said the Chief Executive Officer at the Amaya-owned Rational Group, Rafi Ashkenazi.
"We're applying the same dedication and passion we have for poker to sports betting and intend to create an authentic, world-class offering. The BetStars brand will build on this passion and provide a safe, trustworthy and, most importantly, exciting environment for sports fans."
At the launch, BetStars offers 23 sports to bet on including football, tennis, basketball, UFC, and eSports, but promises to add even more options during 2016.
"More sports, including horse racing, are intended to be added throughout 2016. The brand will also feature a range of in-play betting options and exclusive offers and promotions that sports bettors expect from a world-class online sportsbook," the company explains.
"PokerStars anticipates the brand will expand into additional key jurisdictions throughout 2016, extending its reach to approximately half of PokerStars' unique active poker customers."
To bring bettors on the platform and to "introduce an innovative new betting product on the platform which will distinguish the brand from competitors," PokerStars plans to release a significant marketing campaign in the first half of 2016." Rumors have it that some of the members currently part of the PokerStars Team SportStars.
Over the past months, the company have invested heavily to promote its image in the sports world through the deals inked with world-famous sport stars like Neymar Jr., Cristiano Ronaldo, Fatima Moreira de Melo, and Ronaldo. Back in August, PokerStars announced that their Team Sportstars would be the main focus of a new marketing campaign set to become the largest one ever run by the poker room.
The new campaign saw the players’ Facebook fans — Ronaldo is Facebook’s most popular public figure with more than 104 million fans while Neymar Jr has more than 53 million Facebook fans — receive an exclusive preview of two commercials, which were being offered two weeks before they were set to air on television globally.
PokerStars explained also that "BetStars will offer its customers a seamless experience between sports betting, casino and poker, with a single wallet for all three services."