PokerStars Diversification Drive Continues as Sky Bet Takeover Completes  

PokerStars has completed its £3.4 billion takeover of Sky Betting & Gaming (SBG) to become the largest publicly-owned gaming company in the world. 

Rafi Ashkenazi.

Chief executive of The Stars Group Rafi Ashkenazi (centre) is looking to diversify as his company completes its takeover of Sky Betting & Gaming.

In an official press release, The Stars Group, said that the deal will create more opportunities across both verticals. One of main points outlined in the July 10 announcement was impact SBG will have on The Stars Group’s overall portfolio.

“This acquisition also provides The Stars Group with multiple expected operational and financial benefits. It dramatically improves The Stars Group’s revenue diversity, creating a balanced spread across poker, casino and sportsbook with a broad geographic reach,” reads the official press release.

The Stars Group is Getting Sporty

When the deal was first made public back in April, the initial focus was on SBG’s sports betting assets. Being one of the largest online betting brands in the UK, SBG will now provide The Stars Group with technical assistance in this area.

The BetStars platform went live at the end of 2015 and has been steadily growing ever since. As well as adding more markets, the sports betting axis of PokerStars has offer a variety of promotions, including a £100 million World Cup giveaway.

Publishing its results of Q1 2018, The Stars Group noted an upturn in sports betting revenue. Although poker remains the biggest earner for the company, non-poker revenue accounted for 34.2 percent of quarterly revenue.

Of the money not coming from poker, BetStars’ contribution made up 20.7 percent of the $134.5 million collected. Overall, when this figure was combined with the company’s casinos earnings, non-poker revenue was up 55 percent year-on-year.

Takeover to Provide Technical and Promotional Boost

Despite the financial gains, BetStars isn’t yet the leading sports betting brand in the UK. However, with SBG as a partner, this could all change. As well as sharing technology and market insights, the deal will facilitate cross-site promotions.

“[The deal] develops sports betting as a second customer acquisition channel, complementing The Stars Group’s core offerings and creating an opportunity to cross-sell players across multiple verticals,” the July 10 press release continues.

At this stage, SBG and PokerStars will continue to operate as separate brands under The Stars Group banner. Former owners CVC Capital Partners will now reduce their share in SBG from 70 percent to 12 percent, while Sky Plc and select board members will retain an overall stake of three percent.

For The Stars Group, the deal not only positions it as an industry leader but an emerging force in the online and mobile sports betting sector according to chief executive Rafi Ashkenazi.

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