PokerStars Accepts First Sports Bet

PokerStars logo on black backgound

Amaya Gaming has announced that its main poker subsidiary – PokerStars – has accepted its very first wager. This comes as part of the beta testing of their brand new sports betting facilities that they are in the process of rolling out. Although we’ve all seen it coming, these news are set to redefine the way we understand online and mobile poker.

The Product

We’ve pretty much known since November that PokerStars would be rolling out sports betting. The announcement that it was on its way came hand in hand with the announcement that we will be getting a suite of casino games, but it’s taken a couple of extra months to get the sports betting facilities up and running. That kind of makes sense, given that PokerStars is far more geared up to support more casino style games than sports betting in terms of software.

As it stands, the sports betting product is available via browsers, which theoretically means that it’s accessible via mobiles. However, a dedicated mobile app for sports betting at PokerStars is planned in the near future, meaning that betting on the go will be more convenient.

The Rollout

The beta testing will end in next month and the entire sports betting product will be implemented at PokerStars within the coming quarter. Although there is no fixed timeline yet for the mobile app, the word is that it’s well into the later stages of development and it should be available on mobile not too long after the betting goes live on desktop.

It might sound a little ambitious, but PokerStars announced that it expects its sports betting arm to outperform its casino product in terms of revenue. This assertion is based on a number of factors, including the fact that between 40% and 50% of Amaya’s players on PokerStars are estimated to already have sports betting accounts with other operators. They will find it easier and much more convenient to have access to poker, casino and sports betting all in one place.

Player Reaction

It seems that PokerStars players have lost all their bark and all their bite. If we look back to when Amaya announced that sports betting would be making its way to PokerStars, there was basically an uproar. Now that the time is nearly upon us? Well, no one seems to be saying all that much about it. I wonder whether the fuss over the Spin & Gos, then the fuss over the casino products, and then the fuss over the live dealers has basically pacified the anger and made players lose their appetite for a whinge…

Amaya’s CEO insists that PokerStars will remain a “poker-first business”, but with all the add-ons and new arms to the business, will it remain “poker foremost”? If sports betting can turn a tidier profit than poker, will we simply see a move to football branding and a front page plastered with odds? Let’s hope not.

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