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Pokerstars On A PR Blitz
Friday May 24,2013 : POKERSTARS ON A PR OFFENSIVE?
Online poker giant achieves major Wall Street Journal exposure.
In what appears to be a major PR coup, the Isle of Man-based Pokerstars online poker operator has presented its case in a long Wall Street Journal story authored by respected gambling journalist Alexandra Berzon.
Although the founder of the company, Isai Scheinberg, continues to keep a low profile following his indictment by US authorities, CEO Mark Scheinberg (39) spoke to Berzon on a visit to the Pokerstars headquarters at Onchan on the island, stressing that the Pokerstars business is well-funded, legitimate, ethical and legal, and operates in a variety of acceptable and genuine licensing jurisdictions.
The article notes that the elder Scheinberg denies the US Justice Department's money laundering, bank fraud and illegal gambling charges against him.
The piece comes after parent group Rational and Scheinberg came under attack during its failed attempt to acquire an Atlantic City land casino .
Much of the article is an explanation and a reprise of the legal situation facing Pokerstars in the United States, and the manner in which attitudes to online poker in that country are changing. However the company also managed to include some impressive statistics about its capability, pointing out that almost a quarter of a million people played in one of its annual tournaments this year, and millions more tune in to watch its live televised events.
According to Pokerscout.com., which independently tracks industry data, PokerStars controls 54 percent of global player market share. That is seven times its nearest competitor.
The author writes that Pokerstars remains confident it will get a seat at the U.S. table, and can spend millions on advertising and hiring high profile sportsmen like tennis champ Rafa Nadal and lobbyists-politicians like the former Democratic congressman Richard Gephardt, who reportedly earns $600,000 a year for pushing the company's legalisation agenda.
Guy Templar, the head of business development at Pokerstars, told Berzon: "We have to begin to explain that we're a completely normal company. We're not a backroom shop on a rock in the sea."
The article reveals that Pokerstars has a global staff of 1,500 and annual revenue over $1 billion, and makes generous but low-profile charitable donations to good causes.
Warren Bartlett, a gambling consultant on the island, said that whilst such modesty was admirable, companies had to be more available if they were to win licenses and influence people.
Nevertheless, Pokerstars' marketing techniques and the investment of many millions of dollars in tournaments and prizes over the years have helped put online poker on the map, the piece notes, commenting on clever, innovative tactics such as convincing a Russian detective show to use poker to solve crimes.
The very interesting and informative article ends on a positive note with a spokesman saying: "We absolutely expect to be a player in the U.S. market."
Read the full article here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324787004578493011807051422.html
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