PokerStars has officially entered the daily fantasy sports market. Today, PokerStars parent company Amaya announced during a Q2 conference call that it has purchased Victiv and will rebrand their existing daily sports site as StarsDraft.
Thursday’s news doesn’t come as a huge surprise to industry observers. PokerStars had previously signaled their intentions to enter the daily fantasy sports industry in March. In July, they had emailed former U.S. online poker customers polling them in regards to PokerStars daily fantasy sports.
Statement from Victiv
Matthew Primeau, CEO of Victiv believes that there is strong synergy between the two brands. “StarsDraft will combine Victiv’s innovative platform and experienced DFS team with Amaya’s expansive consumer base and operational excellence as the world’s preeminent online gaming brand.
We intend to capitalize on what we believe is strong crossover between online poker players and daily fantasy sports. PokerStars is the most-trusted brand in online gaming and brings unmatched security, customer support and technical infrastructure that we believe all players can rely on.”
What Will StarsDraft Look Like?
The new DFS site, which will continue to be managed by Victiv, will be available in select U.S. states and will ultimately also be available through the PokerStars platform. Victiv currently bars players form Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana and Washington — states generally considered unfriendly to offer games by most daily fantasy sports sites.
Players going to StarsDraft.com today are greeted with a coming soon message that also directs prospective players to sign-up with Victiv.
Right now StarsDraft really doesn’t exist as a functional brand at the moment so “StarsDraft” right now is what Victiv was on Wednesday. The retention of the Victiv staff suggests that there will not be a ton of changes with the Victiv daily fantasy sports site, at least right away.
Victiv has received generally high marks from players since they launched in September of 2014. They have received praise for their user interface, fast withdrawals and loyalty program — all qualities commonly used to describe PokerStars in the online poker industry.
Victiv appears to be polished product already. This makes it easy to be optimistic about what combined resources will be able to achieve in the coming months.
StarDraft’s Position in the DFS Market
A new daily fantasy sports site seems to launch every couple weeks. Does the industry need another?
StarDraft’s challenge will be competing with widely known brands that include long-time favorites such as FanDuel and DraftKings as well as daily fantasy sports products from household names such as Yahoo and CBS SportsLine. Before today’s announcement, Victiv was seen as one of the rooms battling for the third most popular daily fantasy sports site.
Of course, PokerStars’ unique ability to draw players to its new DFS site is a game changer. It makes a lot of sense for PokerStars and has an excellent chance to bring a substantial number of new players to daily fantasy sports.
PokerStars have been the number one online poker site by a wide margin and have been since 2007. Although they were forced to leave the United States online poker market in April of 2011, they have been looking for a path to reacquaint themselves with former customers ever since.
Efforts to enter the regulated online poker market in New Jersey apparently have stalled since signing a transactional waiver in October of 2014. Entering the daily fantasy sports market should also allow them to convert players to online poker if and when PokerStars is able to reenter the US market once again.