PokerStars Enters The DFS Space

PokerStars Enters The Daily Fantasy Sports Space With StarsDraft

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Amaya is now in the daily fantasy sports business and will be operational by the start of NFL season following the acquisition of Victiv, which will be rebranded as StarsDraft.

That’s the biggest news from today’s earnings call covering 2Q15.

Listen to the call here.

This is Amaya’s first earnings call as a NASDAQ-traded stock. The company began their dual TSX / NASDAQ listing in June. The call also comes just a few days after the one-year anniversary of Amaya’s acquisition of PokerStars.

A non-exhaustive list of items of note, with additional color following:

  • Amaya has acquired DFS platform Victiv and appears to plan to rebrand it as
  • The company is signaling the potential for M&A activity, with a focus on acquisitions that re-engage inactive customers or retain existing ones through “new vertical offerings” or those that help advance goal of “double digit market share” by 2017 for casino / sport.
  • The company released an unprecedented amount of metrics on both poker customers and customers for other products.
  • The company has 2.3m paid active poker players in the quarter, of 95m registered players.
  • Thanks to Spin N’ Go, the total number of tournaments increased 90% from 2014. Tournaments now generate the majority of revenue for PokerStars.
  • A full initial marketing campaign for casino is coming late 2015 / early 2016.
  • Baazov on Russia: “We are very optimistic. We do have some boots on the ground and things are moving pretty positively. It’s pretty clear that they would like to regulate poker.”

The full presentation accompanying the call can be viewed here.

New Jersey

There was no mention of New Jersey.

The comes as PokerStars’ NJ saga approaches an anniversary of its own. It’s been almost a year since Amaya filed for a transactional waiver to bring the PokerStars brand and platform to New Jersey’s online poker market.

In the intervening months, there have been bursts of speculation regarding PokerStars’ approval that were inevitably followed by periods of quiet following the passage of a predicted entry date.

Chatter has been especially heavy over the last few weeks.

How PokerStars will impact the New Jersey market is a matter of no small debate. A recent take from Robert DellaFave argues that the best path forward for competing sites would be cooperation.


There was no mention of California.

With only weeks remaining in the 2015 session, all eyes are focused on the return of California lawmakers next Monday.

The emerging storyline is that Amaya and like-minded parties will coordinate a push to bring an online poker bill to the floor for a vote despite the lack of consensus among key stakeholders.

A hearing for AB 167 in front of the Assembly GO Committee is understood to be scheduled for next week.

Daily fantasy sports

PokerStars is now set to enter the DFS market following Amaya’s announcement that it has acquired Victiv.

Amaya first telegraphed their intentions to break into the DFS market in early 2015. CEO David Baazov tempered the timeline somewhat in the 1Q15 earnings call in May.

There are an array of opinions regarding the ability of PokerStars to compete in an increasingly crowded DFS field, but there’s no denying that the company enjoys a number of competitive advantages.

- Chris is the publisher of Grove also serves as a consultant to various stakeholders in the regulated market for online gambling in the United States.
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