Canadian gambling giant The Stars Group has dropped its nearly five-year-old BetStars sports betting brand and has replaced it with the new PokerStars Sports operation as part of a previously announced plan to bolster the growth of its flagship PokerStars brand.
As reported by poker news outlet Poker Industry PRO, the switch appears to have occurred in the last 24-48 hours and is global. Websites servicing customers in the UK, Spain, and internationally are now redirecting from BetStars to PokerStars Sports domains.
Online poker clients have been upgraded to now show the logo of the new PokerStars Sports brand, and The Stars Group’s corporate website has been updated to now include information about the newly introduced brand.
The BetStars brand went live in late 2015 and represented The Stars Group’s (then Amaya) first foray into sports betting. The Canadian gambling group gradually launched the operation in all of its key markets, including the UK, Spain, and Italy, among others to increase brand exposure and cement itself in the highly competitive online wagering sector.
News about The Stars Group’s plans to retire the BetStars brand first emerged last summer when CEO Rafi Ashkenazi said during the company’s Q2 2019 earnings call that their target would be to “promote two master brands”, with those being PokerStars and Sky Betting and Gaming, which The Stars Group acquired in 2018.
Bringing Several Products Under the PokerStars Brand
The switch to the new PokerStars Sports product comes as part of The Stars Group’s strategy to bring several key gambling products under its flagship PokerStars brand. The suite of products would include online poker, online sports betting and online casino.
Mr. Ashkenazi said last year that in markets where they operate PokerStars and don’t have a “great brand equity” in Sky Bet, they would likely “move away from BetStars and start promoting PokerStars Sports and also PokerStars Casino and then have PokerStars as the master brand.”
On the other hand, in markets where the gambling operator does have the Sky Bet brand and it is available and they believe they have “a good relationship that we can build with the local Sky broadcaster like Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland, then obviously we will start investing in those brands,” Mr. Ashkenazi further explained during the group’s Q2 2019 earnings call last summer.
The gambling group’s top official also noted that through this new strategy they would get “more marketing efficiencies” in the markets its master brands are present.
BetStars is not the only sports betting brand that is set to be retired by The Stars Group. It emerged earlier this week that the company’s Australia-facing business BetEasy would be absorbed by Sportsbet, the Australian brand of Irish gambling powerhouse Flutter Entertainment.
The Stars Group and Flutter are on track to complete their mega-merger by the end of this quarter. Flutter shareholders approved the deal earlier this week, while The Stars Group’s investors are set to vote on it tomorrow.