Online Poker Demoted Again as Sports Betting Dominates Stars Group Revenue

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Online poker is becoming an ever-decreasing asset for The Stars Group, according to the company’s Q2 financial report.

Online poker revenue drops at The Stars Group
Online poker continues to lose ground as The Stars Group turns its attention towards sports betting. (Image: PokerStars)

The latest figures provide a stark contrast to 2018. Although online casino gaming and sports have gradually gained prominence since Amaya purchased PokerStars in 2014, the dynamics have now completely shifted.

As per the Aug. 12 revenue report, online poker accounted for 30 percent of The Stars Group’s business during Q2. During the same period in 2018, poker’s contribution was 53 percent.

Taking it back just a few months more, online poker represented 62.6 percent of the company’s total takings in Q1 2018.

Sports Steal Spotlight at Stars Group

Usurping poker’s dominance within The Stars Group portfolio was sports betting. Helped, in part, by the acquisition of Sky Betting & Gaming, sports improved its share by 16 percent to 36 percent.

Online casino gaming also enjoyed an upswing, with its total contribution increasing from 25 percent to 31 percent year-on-year.

Looking at the bigger picture, The Stars Group reported a 54.9 percent uptick in year-on-year revenue. However, much of the $637 million earned during the quarter came from the takeover of Sky Betting & Gaming.

To darken an otherwise positive picture, the operator has also adjusted its full-year forecast. In short, had it not been for its latest purchase, overall earnings in H1 would have been down 2 percent due to unfavorable currency fluctuations.

With an adjustment of $200 million on its full-year projections, The Stars Group’s share price dropped 12 percent. However, despite the setback, bosses are confident that investments in sports betting and other innovations will pay off.

Online Poker Playing Third Fiddle?

The Stars Group has made no secret of its desire to become the leading online bookmaker in the world. With the downfall of PASPA providing new opportunities in the US, it recently announced a partnership with FOX Sports.

Described as the first deal of its kind, the tie-up will see The Stars Group provide software for FOX Bet.

As well as an interest in the media company’s sports betting endeavors, The Stars Group will benefit from cross-platform product launches and exposure.

In tandem with these efforts, the operator also announced the appointment of John Schappert.

The former video games expert has joined the board as an independent director and will likely oversee the development of innovations designed to attract casual gamers.

Rivals Could Gain Ground on PokerStars

What’s interesting about the current dynamics at The Stars Group is that, in some respects, they go against the current trend. Although sports betting is becoming more popular, poker is enjoying a resurgence.

With the WSOP, Triton and Grosvenor Casinos recently setting records, interest in the game is higher than it’s been for years.

By shifting its focus from online poker to other verticals, The Stars Group is risking losing group to its rivals. Indeed, with Partypoker ramping up its innovations over the last 12 months, a power shift could be on the horizon.

Although PokerStars still attracts the most players, things could quickly change if the current dynamics continue

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