PokerStars’ US fantasy sports launch gathers pace

PokerStars’ US fantasy sports launch gathers pace

Monday, July 20, 2015 Totally Gaming
CEO David Baazov is keen to enter the DFS market

PokerStars is building up to its mooted autumn launch of a daily fantasy sports (DFS) operation in the US after launching a customer feedback drive.

The Amaya-owned company, which has not operated real-money games in the US since its sites were closed by authorities in 2011, said earlier this year that it is planning to enter the DFS market in time for the start of the NFL American football season in September.

Now PokerStars has contacted former poker customers in the US with a survey, which included questions about what kind of fantasy sports people had played and whether they had ever played for real money. It also asked respondents which kind of DFS bonuses and promotions they felt were most attractive.

In March, Amaya chief executive David Baazov said: “We have taken the strategic decision to enter the daily fantasy sports category and are pursuing parallel tracks of internal development and strategic acquisition. We expect to provide more details on this strategy in the second half of 2015 but see a clear crossover from poker and daily fantasy sports.

“The goal is to be up before the NFL season starts. We clearly see a strong demand for it. The US players that were formerly PokerStars players would like to see us launch fantasy sports.”

PokerStars’ entry to the increasingly-saturated DFS sector would be a challenge for market leaders FanDuel and DraftKings, with web giant Yahoo having also launched its own game earlier this month.

Financial markets analyst Seeking Alpha backed PokerStars to be a success, and a better bet than FanDuel and DraftKings. Seeking Alpha said in a post on its website: “We believe Amaya is better positioned longer term to generate more cash with less cost in launching a fantasy sports business than the two major fantasy sports operators edging toward IPOs.”

PokerStars is also due to return to the US online gaming market before the end of September with a launch of poker and casino in New Jersey.

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