Sunday November 23 ,2014 : DID POKERSTARS ITALIAN MANAGER LET THE CAT OUT OF THE BAG?
Tucco interview followed by a wider corporate press statement.
The newly appointed manager for Pokerstars in Italy, Marco Trucco, may have let the cat out of the bag in his interview earlier this week disclosing the online poker giant's plans to introduce casino and sports betting in the near future
The ink on the interview was barely dry before Pokerstars issued an international statement confirming that it will launch online sports betting and casino table games globally.
The first offerings – blackjack and roulette – will roll out on a market-by-market basis beginning this month with completion anticipated by the end of 2014 reaching nearly half of Pokerstars’ current player base.
Pokerstars will add sports betting and other popular casino games in 2015, and additionally plans to launch a full-featured casino on mobile and web in 2015.
"The launch of sports betting and casino games on Pokerstars.com leverages the expertise and experience that has been gained from the launch of casino games earlier this year on Pokerstars.es in Spain and on Full Tilt in January 2014," the statement explains.
Eric Hollreiser, head of corporate communications at Pokerstars,elaborated: “We are taking the same principles, practices and integrity that make Pokerstars such a successful and beloved brand and applying them to new verticals. These new products will also support the development of poker and grow the overall business.”
Hollreiser says the rollout of casino on Full Tilt and PokerStars.ES has been greeted well by poker players with approximately 30 percent of poker customers playing casino monthly, where those games are available. Moreover, 50 percent of Full Tilt casino players say that the site is the only online casino at which they play.
“We thoroughly researched the opportunity and spent a lot of time talking to players and analysing the behaviour of our customers on PokerStars.ES and Full Tilt,” Hollreiser said.
“Those launches have been successful in reactivating dormant customers and extending the value of our existing poker customers. The experience on our poker platforms to-date also shows increases in net player deposits following the addition of casino games and a negligible impact on poker spend. We are confident these games will create more value to our Pokerstars site and bolster the core poker offering.”
Recognizing that some poker players prefer a poker-only environment, Pokerstars has enabled features that will allow customers to remove the additional games from their view and to opt out of direct marketing and promotions of the casino games.
“We are committed to extending our leadership in poker and will continue to serve the passionate online poker player, while expanding our reach into new audiences and new gaming opportunities,” Hollreiser said.
The blackjack and roulette games being launched have been built with poker-playing consumers in mind. The company has devoted resources to develop unique multiplayer games, with social and betting features that will appeal to poker-loving audiences.
Combined with some of the lowest blackjack margins in the industry and micro stakes starting from $0.10, these games have demonstrated early success in appealing to a mass market poker-playing audience.
The CEO of Pokerstars parent group Amaya Gaming, David Baazov, sketched the forward plans of Pokerstars in broad terms several months ago when he noted:
"With the continuing trend of online gaming regulation around the world, the company has in front of itself an enormous opportunity to leverage its brand recognition and customer loyalty to diversify into other gaming verticals such as casino, sports betting, and social gaming."
At that time Baazov estimated a more diverse global market worth approximately $25 billion, significantly in excess of the poker-online scope of Full Tilt and Pokerstars at present, which is around $4 billion.