PokerStars to Launch Casino Games and Sports Betting
PokerStars – one of the world’s most popular and successful purveyors of online and mobile poker – announced today that it would be turning its attention to other forms of gambling, and introducing casino table games and sports betting to its offering.
The move comes at a difficult time for PokerStars. Last month saw the launch of the site’s new Spin & Go games, which were aimed at encouraging more casual and social playing, however, the launch of the games proved so controversial, that many pointed to the Spin & Gos as part of the reason PokerStars suffered a 7% drop in traffic directly after the launch. With these events still in recent memory, many pundits are questioning the wisdom of introducing more changes to the site which don’t fit in to the business’s current model.
The introduction of casino style games is not a totally untried and untested concept for PokerStars, however, as Spanish users of the site have been able to access casino games at PokerStars.es for a couple of months now. PokerStars will be combining what they have learnt from the Spanish facing site, with the confidence that mobile and online casinos and sports betting continue to be growing markets, and will likely prove very profitable for the company.
Learning from the mistakes of rolling Spin & Gos out company wide in one go, the introduction of these new features will happen incrementally. Firstly, games will be introduced a couple at a time, starting with the classics such as blackjack and roulette; presumably so PokerStars can gage the popularity of each game accurately. They will also be released on a ‘market-by-market basis’, meaning different countries will see them appear on different occasions, and PokerStars has the luxury of time to address any market specific bugs.
Most PokerStars players will have access to an almost complete suite of casino games by the end of 2014 or beginning of 2015. At the start of the New Year sports betting will start to be implemented, with the goal of completing the whole project before the spring.
What do you make of the new additions? Is PokerStars being too hasty, or is it a calculated risk? Let me know in the comments.
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