Another day, another NJ online sportsbook launch. But this is no ordinary debut, as on Thursday evening the much-anticipated BetStars NJ entered into a live beta testing period.
BetStars is the sports betting brand of The Stars Group, and joins the company’s two other flagship brands — PokerStars and PokerStars Casino — in the New Jersey market. All three brands are housed under the Resorts AC license, with the book powered by UK-based sportsbook solutions provider Amelco.
Despite its relative newness, the BetStars brand has fared exceedingly well for The Stars Group in European and other regulated markets, generating $800 million in revenue in 2017, and experiencing a massive 129.1% revenue uptick over the first six months of 2018. Now, New Jersey players will get to experience firsthand the innovations the brand brings to the table in what is rapidly becoming a very crowded NJ online sports betting industry.
A mobile-only launch product
The Stars Group is known for its technologically advanced platforms and BetStars NJ proves no exception, offering players a sleek interface ripe with functionality. However at launch, the product is only available for Android and iOS powered devices, with a PC launch expected early in 2019.
BetStars NJ will utilize a shared wallet across its New Jersey brands, which should encourage existing poker players to migrate over. However, it’s worth noting that the PokerStars brand hasn’t proved nearly as strong in New Jersey as it has overseas, with PokerStars NJ currently occupying the number two spot in the online poker market behind frontrunner WSOP/888 and accounting for just a small niche of New Jersey’s online casino market.
Presumably, that could easily change once Stars launches in Pennsylvania and (hopefully) shares online poker player pools across the two states.
Aggressive welcome promos
Value hunting players will appreciate the welcome package offered by BetStars, which includes an up to $500 free bet bonus. This offer will be available to all new players on BetStars NJ, including those that already have an existing poker/casino account.
The bonus structure is broken out into ten parts. Players that place their first bet up to $50 with minimum odds of +100 will receive a free bet up to $50. For the next nine segments, players must wager $150 to receive an additional $50 free bet.
In addition, all customers will receive 100/1 odds on any NFL team to win the Super Bowl, with a maximum bet of $5. It goes without saying that there’s plenty of value to be had here, as players can grab frontrunners like the Pats, Vikings, or Eagles at insane pricing.
Resorts AC on the rise
With the addition of BetStars NJ, Resorts AC solidifies its position as a top-line force in the NJ sports betting market. The casino is also partnered with DraftKings, which was first to market in early August, and took in over 1 million bets in its first 32 days of operation.
In July, Resorts announced that SBTech would be powering its retail operation. The temporary book went live in mid-August, with a permanent book expected soon. Resorts also plans on unveiling a branded online sportsbook in New Jersey, expected to launch by the end of September. That will bring the number of books licensed by Resorts up to three, which is the hard limit on the number of skins a NJ sports betting license holder is allowed to support.
BetStars isn’t done yet
A New Jersey launch appears to be just the beginning of BetStars’ foray into the emergent U.S. sports betting space. The Stars Group is also partnered with Mount Airy Casino in Pennsylvania for online poker, casino, and sports betting.
Pennsylvania legalized all three forms of gambling last year, as part of an omnibus gaming expansion package. To date, only two Pennsylvania casinos have applied for a sports betting license, Parx Casino and Penn National, calling into question when the industry will actually launch.
In Pennsylvania, sports betting operators are restricted to just one brand, meaning BetStars will presumably be the face of Mount Airy Casino sports betting. It also means the BetStars brand will face less fierce competition in the Keystone State than New Jersey, where no less than 20 online sportsbooks are expected to be live by the end of the year.