PokerStars is ready to diversify as it announced Friday it’s in the process of launching casino table games and sports betting. The first two games offered, expected to be released by month’s end, will be blackjack and roulette, both historically popular among poker players. Placing bets on sporting events and additional table game offerings will arrive after the New Year, with a complete online web and mobile casino planned for sometime in 2015.
The move comes on the heels of Spain’s PokerStars and Full Tilt success after introducing casino games earlier this year. The unveiling of new games at PokerStars.es was well received according to Amaya Gaming executives, the parent company of both PokerStars and Full Tilt. Statistics show 30 percent of Spanish customers play another table game each month, while 50 percent of Full Tilt accounts state the site is the lone casino they frequent. Blackjack and roulette will debut with stakes as low as $0.10 to attract the largest possible pool.
Eric Hollreiser, head of corporate communications for PokerStars, writes in a press release,
“We thoroughly researched the opportunity and spent a lot of time talking to players and analyzing the behavior of our customers on PokerStars.es and Full Tilt. Those launches have been successful in reactivating dormant customers and extending the value of our existing poker customers.”
PokerStars, which is headquartered in the Isle of Man, is betting on table games and sports betting to attract a new audience, eventually leading to more seats being filled in their card rooms. So far, that’s been the case on the Spanish sites. Hollreiser explains, “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.”
Of course, the core base might disapprove on the addition of popular games like blackjack and roulette in favor of a site wholeheartedly devoted to poker. To combat that sentiment, PokerStars will allow customers to opt out of non-poker marketing and promotions, and even remove the other games altogether. Hollreiser states the company hasn’t lost focus on its primary consumer. “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.”
Since Amaya’s $4.9 billion purchase of PokerStars and Full Tilt in June, the reputation of the world’s largest poker room has undergone several setbacks. The decision to increase the site’s rake and introduce currency exchange fees has been met with nearly unanimous animosity from players. An influx of players participating in a variety of games and sports wagering should lead to more revenue for the poker giant. In turn, some of these unpopular moves could be revised. As PokerStars wrote on its corporate blog in October, “We’ve heard these complaints and are genuinely listening to feedback.”