In February 2015, waves were made on the iGaming scene when one of the biggest acquisitions in the history of the industry took place: Canadian gaming giant Gamesys made the move to sell its catalogue of assets to Intertain in a £425 million deal. Intertain will now have full rein over some of Gamesys’ biggest brands, including Jackpotjoy, which is widely recognised as the most popular online bingo brand in Britain. While popularity of brands and connections to Europe were both cited as reasons for the move, no-one can deny the obvious influence that Amaya Gaming had on Intertain. Back in June 2014, it was confirmed that Amaya Gaming had acquired online poker giant PokerStars in a deal worth more than $4 billion.
Despite funding much of the purchase with loans, it seems that the move has set into motion some of the most exciting changes for PokerStars to date. On 1st April 2015, it was confirmed that it had launched a brand new sports betting platform. PokerStars’ sportsbook is currently described as in the “beta phase” but, when fully operational, will be available from internet browsers, smartphones and also integrated with the new PokerStars 7 client.
A document from Amaya claimed: “The Corporation anticipates PokerStars will launch its beta version of its sports-betting product, available both on the web and in the PS7 client, in certain jurisdictions in the near future, with rollout to other markets across the dot-com network through the next two quarters of 2015.”
PokerStars also recently announced its forthcoming partnership with video streaming site Twitch, which shows live streams of online games and recently extended its remit to poker. Jason Somerville, a widely recognised name on the poker circuit, recently joined the ranks of PokerStars. He runs his own show, Run It Up! on Twitch, and claims PokerStars’ integration with the site will be “an integral part of the growing game.”
With so much going on for PokerStars, what could be next for the growing company? Despite having 50 million registered users, the company is now considering branching out into Asian markets as well as attempting to attract more diverse audiences, particularly where gender is concerned. All this, together with a view to enter into the fantasy sports industry, suggest that 2015 may be PokerStars’ biggest year yet.
The company may have been bought out by a ‘little fish’, but this is one big fish that isn’t showing any signs of stopping any time soon.