For the first time ever, American sports bettors can place legal wagers through the PokerStars-operated sportsbook BetStars, following the platform’s launch in New Jersey on September 13.
The BetStars online sportsbook went live across Europe in December of 2015, but nearly three years passed until the site made its way to American shores. In the interim, however, the PokerStars poker room secured an iGaming license in New Jersey – its first within a regulated American market – a move which paved the way for BetStars’ recent launch.
In a press release issued by The Stars Group, parent company to both PokerStars and BetStars, Matt Primeaux – The Stars Group’s senior vice president of strategy & operations in the U.S. market – celebrated the company’s expanded reach stateside:
“We are excited to introduce BetStars to New Jersey sports fans.
As one of the largest online gaming companies in the world with millions of customers worldwide, we have successfully launched BetStars in regulated markets across Europe and look forward to expanding and enhancing our New Jersey BetStars offering, including through leveraging the Sky Betting & Gaming acquisition following approval from the UK Competition and Markets Authority, to provide a premier product and experience to our customers in this new and developing market.”
The pace of online sportsbook adoption in the Garden State was initially slow after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to repeal a federal sports betting ban (outside of Nevada) on May 14.
Even though New Jersey’s attempt to pass sports betting regulations sparked the Supreme Court challenge, the state waited until June 14 to authorize regulations on the new gambling industry. From there, several brick and mortar bet shops opened their doors, but nearly two months went by until daily fantasy sports (DFS) kingpin DraftKings launched the state’s first online and mobile sportsbook on August 6.
Since then, seven more online / mobile sports wagering sites have gone live, including five in the month of September:
Both PokerStars NJ and BetStars NJ operate under an interactive gaming license held by Resorts Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City.
Back in August, Resorts AC and The Stars Group announced an extension of that partnership with BetStars as the featured product.
At the time, Primeaux issued a statement praising Resorts AC as the perfect partner through which to enter the newly legalized American sports betting marketplace:
“We have successfully launched the BetStars brand in many European regulated markets and we have invested heavily to create a premier global offering.
Working with our longstanding partner, Resorts, we are really excited to introduce a brand-new consumer experience by bringing New Jersey fans closer to the sports and the teams that they love.”
Mark Giannantonio – president and chief executive officer of Resorts AC – also commented on the expanded partnership:
“We’re excited to double down on our already successful partnership with The Stars Group, which owns leading sportsbooks globally and has always been known and respected for their advanced technology, superior customer experience and cutting-edge security safeguards.”
The Stars Group also announced a similar partnership with Mount Airy Casino Resort in Pennsylvania. The Keystone State legalized online gambling and sports betting in October of last year, and regulators are currently accepting iGaming applications.
Mount Airy was approved in the state’s initial round of online casino and poker applications, but its sports betting petition is still pending.