Casino Interests See Poker Revenue Fall for The Stars Group

February 28th, 2020 | by Kaycee James

Online poker remains an ever-decreasing asset for The Stars Group (TSG) according to the company’s latest financial report.

PokerStars revenue report

PokerStars has reported another downswing for poker as other verticals take over. (Image: European Gaming)

Published on Feb. 27, the 2019 Q4 overview shows that poker earnings fell by 10.4 percent.

That drop means poker’s contribution to the company’s overall income is now 27.5 percent. During the same period in 2018, online poker represented 32.8 percent of The Stars Group’s revenue.

Sports Betting Dominates

Losses for online poker have resulted in gains across other parts of the business. As per the report, sports betting is now the largest vertical at TSG. Despite being the youngest of all the operator’s offerings, it was responsible for 39.1 percent of all earnings in Q4.

Casino gaming also made up some ground in the final three months of 2019. Quarterly revenue was up 5.4 percent, taking the annual uptick in casino revenue to 5.2 percent.

Perhaps the most telling sign that the balance of power is shifting comes from the report’s accompanying notes. In among the references to regulatory headwinds and currency fluctuations, the efforts to move players from poker to casino games is made clear.

Commenting on the increase in gaming revenue, the report notes “improvements in cross-selling from poker to casino games.”

This shift in focus isn’t new. Since Amaya’s acquisition of PokerStars in 2014, the operator’s interests have widened. However, it’s a reminder to players that the site that once used the tagline “we are poker,” has changed.

The Stars Group Still On Top But Time Are Changing

In comparative terms, PokerStars is still the largest online poker site in the world. The latest traffic report from PokerScout shows a 7,000-player weekly average. The closest international operator to that is GGPoker with a seven-day average of 1,800 players.

So, while poker may not be as much of a revenue-driver for PokerStars and The Stars Group as it once was, the brand is still strong. However, the latest figures suggest the industry as a whole has evolved.

Even though it still controls the market, PokerStars’ status is being challenged.

Partypoker has become the biggest threat over the last two years. Through a combination of updates and record-setting tournaments, the company’s reputation among poker players is better than ever.

The same is true of smaller brands such as Unibet Poker. By focusing on player-friendly features, Unibet’s parent company, the Kindred Group, saw poker earnings improve by 19 percent in 2019.

Although online poker’s hierarchy still has PokerStars at the top, the playing field is evening out. As other operators gain momentum, players have more opportunities than ever before.


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