The Stars Group Sees Sports Betting Expand, But Poker Revenue Remains Key

The Stars Group — parent company to PokerStars — has reported a positive start to 2018, with a 23.8 percent improvement in year-on-year in Q1 revenue.

Stars Group online sports betting growth 2018

The Stars Group has seen increasing online activity in the sports betting arena for the first quarter of 2018. (Image: bigonsports.com)

Highlighting the latest facts and figures on May 10, Stars Group CEO Rafi Ashkenazi pointed to changes in international markets as the main reason for the recent upswing.

According to the data, poker accounted for 62.6 percent of the company’s Q1 takings, while casino and sports book betting made up 34.2 percent of the group’s revenue.

Liquidity Pouring in Players

Once the impact of year-on-year changes in foreign exchange rates had been factored in, the actual annual increase was pegged at 12.4 percent. Casino and sports book earnings saw the best overall improvements, with combined revenue increasing by 55 percent.

Among the most significant points of note were the new opportunities PokerStars was able to forge in EU markets of late.

“The increase in poker revenue was primarily driven by the positive impact of the Stars Rewards loyalty program, foreign exchange fluctuations, and the introduction of shared poker liquidity in France and Spain,” Ashkenazi explained in a May 10 press release.

Despite real-money poker revenue improving by 2.3 percent and positive market conditions, the operator’s focus moving forward will be in the sports betting sector. For the first three months of 2018, BetStars contributed 20.7 percent to The Stars Group’s $134.5 million in non-poker earnings.

Sporting Outlook

As well as an expected increase in revenue during the 2018 soccer World Cup, external investments are projected to generate more sports betting income over the coming months. On February 27, The Stars Group announced it had acquired a 62 percent stake in Australia’s Crownbet.

This deal was followed by the news that Crownbet had purchased William Hill’s Aussie assets for $300 million. Through its stake in Crownbet, Stars will be hoping to make up some of the money it lost when it was forced to exit the Australian poker market in September 2017.

In addition to expanding its interests in Australia, the company struck up a deal with Sky Betting and Gaming in April. The $4.7 million takeover will see The Stars Group become one of the largest online sports books in the UK.

Between its new investments and promotions such as the £100 Million World Cup giveaway, the company will be looking to parlay its recent results into something greater. Although poker will remain the leading revenue generator for the foreseeable future, the increased focus on sports betting could see a paradigm shift occur in the next few years.

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