PokerStars Casino TV Adverts Could Soon Land In New Jersey Market
Online Poker Report

PokerStars Shifts Online Casino Marketing Effort Into High Gear

Combustion fumes
In its two year existence, the PokerStars Casino has relied almost exclusively on cross-selling its online casino to its online poker customers.

But now, PokerStars is ramping up its organic marketing efforts. According to a press release, casino TV ads are on the way. The new online casino advertisements, “will play across UK digital stations and video display advertising.”

Here’s a look at the first TV spot.

“In just two years, PokerStars Casino has grown immensely; we are already one of the world’s leading online casinos,” Sam Hobcraft, Director of Casino at PokerStars, said in the press release.

Hobcraft goes on to state that, “PokerStars Casino is currently a well-kept secret for poker players, who love to play casino, and we now feel it is the right time to share our unique product and customer experience with a wider audience.  We are extremely proud of our TV advert and are looking forward to our big UK launch.”

The new TV advertisements will focus on what PokerStars is calling the “cutting-edge digital graphics” of PokerStars Casino’s slots, blackjack and roulette games, showing them off to a mainstream audience for the first time.

Casino YoY growth

Even without a significant marketing campaign, PokerStars Casino and sports book have been growing at a rapid pace. In its latest earnings call for 2016 Q3, Amaya announced casino and sports book now accounts for 24 percent of the company’s revenue, up from 15 percent in Q3 of 2015.

According to the press release, “The new strategic direction aims to grow the amount of new players outside of the existing PokerStars cumulative customer base of more than 105 million, by reaching out to a wider mainstream market.”

New crossover game could be a focal point of future ads

In the press release PokerStars also stated the advertising campaign will highlight “the casino’s unique look and feel, whilst staying faithful to the heritage of the PokerStars brand.”

The phrase “true to the PokerStars brand” is almost certainly a reference to the company’s online poker roots.

One way the company could market its casino while staying true to its heritage is through its recently launched Casino Rush mobile gaming app. Casino Rush is currently a free-to-play social game but could be converted to real money if it catches on with players.

The game is an amalgamation of poker, slots, and casino games, designed to be fast-paced, entertaining, and played on the go.

Lloyd Melnick, Director of Social Gaming at PokerStars, said of the newly launched app:

“We spent a lot of time assessing the social casino market, what was missing and what players wanted. Our analysis found that our social players want a poker experience that they can enjoy quickly whether or not they are connected to the Internet. That’s why we created Casino Rush. It is the best of poker, casino and slots all fused into one great game, just what gamers in 2016 are looking for.”

Per the press release:

“Casino Rush by PokerStars, which sees players go up against the house across a broad range of games, is free to install and play on iOS and Android devices. PokerStars’ latest mobile app also doesn’t require Internet connection as, unlike most social casino games, play is available offline.”

You can learn more about Casino Rush here, or watch the promotional video below.

Are advertisements coming to New Jersey?

A line at the end of the press release foretells similar marketing pushes in other locales:

“PokerStars Casino will implement strategic growth plans in various other countries as the full casino offering becomes more widely available.”

One likely landing spot is New Jersey, where PokerStars Casino launched more than two years after its competitors in the market. This, along with facing off against long-established casino brands, has stunted PokerStars ability to gain a significant online casino market share.

But advertising in New Jersey is not without its issues.

To canvass the entire state, and high-population cities just across New Jersey’s borders, requires advertising buys in several markets, including the very expensive New York City and Philadelphia TV markets.

Early on, most of the NJ online casinos were advertising in local TV markets, but the cost soon caught up to them and had to be cut back.

If PokerStars does ramp up its marketing presence in New Jersey, the company will find it to be a costly undertaking.

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Steve Ruddock
- Steve covers nearly every angle of online poker in his job as a full-time freelance poker writer. His primary focus for OPR is the developing legal and legislative picture for regulated US online poker and gambling.