PokerStars Gears Up for Daily Fantasy Sports Launch

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PokerStars, Amaya, daily fantasy sports
Back in the USA? PokerStars could be offering daily fantasy sports to Americans but not online poker. (Image:

PokerStars looks like it is preparing to launch daily fantasy sports (DFS) in the US in time for the start of the NFL season in September.

This week the company contacted many of its former customers in the US via email to gauge opinions on a PokerStars DFS product.

These were players who had accounts with the online poker giant before Black Friday saw it beat a hasty retreat from US soil, and had not heard from PokerStars since.

Recipients were asked to take part in a survey that posed questions about what kind of fantasy sports they had played, whether they had ever played for real-money, and if so how often.

It also asked respondents which kind of DFS bonuses and promotions they felt were most attractive.

Poker / DFS Crossover

David Baazov, CEO of PokerStars’ parent Amaya, announced his company would soon be tapping the DFS craze during an earnings call back in late March.

“We have also taken the strategic decision to enter the daily fantasy sports category and are pursuing parallel tracks of internal development and strategic acquisition,” he said. “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 U.S. players that were formerly PokerStars players would like to see us launch fantasy sports.”

As evidenced by the DraftKings branding all over the World Series of Poker this year, there is clearly a crossover between the online poker and DFS markets.

And, with a readymade list of potential customers in America, DFS would be a natural fit for PokerStars, offering an inroad into the US gambling markets that have eluded its grasp since Black Friday, without the need to go through any messy and protracted regulatory processes.

Betting on Amaya

In fact, financial markets content service Seeking Alpha recently tipped its readers to invest in Amaya in favor of current market leaders Draft Kings and FanDuel, in events of IPOs for the latter. Amaya had a “strong possibility for a far better bet on bigger gains,” it said.

“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,” declared the site.

“With a reported 68 million registered users in poker, already available in 30 languages and a market cap of $3.66 billion (US), we like their potential positioning against newly minted DraftKings and FanDuel shares when they become public companies.”

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