In the US, the company now has combined access to up to 20 states

"It's been a remarkable 12 months for The Stars Group"

"We’ve seen very encouraging early signs from our FOX Sports Super 6 nationwide free-to-play games, the app for which has now surpassed 1,000,000 downloads," a spokesperson for The Stars Group tells Yogonet.
2019-12-24
Reading time 3:45 min
The firm says the combination with Flutter will enhance and accelerate each company’s growth strategy by providing a diverse portfolio of brands, with a broad geographic reach. Ahead of closing, the Group remains "highly focused" on its key strategic priorities of integration, execution and debt reduction. After becoming the first licensed online poker operator in Pennsylvania in November, it has regularly attracted more than 1,000 concurrent players.

“2019 has been another busy year for The Stars Group,” a spokesperson for the company tells Yogonet. It launched FOX Bet, a first of its kind sports media and betting business in the U.S., relaunched Sky Bet in Italy and Germany, and continue to deliver new products and games. 

In October, The Stars Group announced the next phase of its business, with an agreement to combine with Flutter to create a global leader in online betting and gaming. “We remain excited about the opportunities in front of us as the combination will enhance and accelerate each company’s growth strategy by providing a diverse portfolio of leading brands and complementary best-in-class products with a broad geographic reach,” the firm says.

Ahead of closing, the Group remains highly focused on its key strategic priorities of integration, execution and debt reduction. “Not only have we largely completed the integration of Sky Betting & Gaming, but we are beginning to execute on our plans for Sky Bet in Italy and Germany and our developing U.K. ecosystem,” the spokesperson says. The company’s cash generative business model has enabled it to reduce its net debt. As of Q3, total prepayments since the beginning of 2019 amount to over $450 million.

New Cherry Hill office in New Jersey.

Could you provide a few examples that reflect key progress, performance, achievements, setbacks and pending goals? 

It’s been another landmark year for The Stars Group. We made rapid progress in the U.S. following our historic FOX Sports deal in May with the launch of our FOX Bet products at the start of the professional football season in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. We’ve also seen very encouraging early signs from our FOX Sports Super 6 nationwide free-to-play games, the app for which has now surpassed 1,000,000 downloads. This is a remarkable achievement made thanks to the hard work of teams across the business. 

PokerStars also became the first licensed online poker operator to go live in Pennsylvania in November and since then has exceeded even our own initial expectations. We got off to a flying start, regularly attracting more than 1,000 concurrent players. To celebrate, we launched Pennsylvania’s own Championship of Online Poker (PACOOP) with a $1 million guaranteed prize pool. Players were so enthusiastic that within a few days we upped the guarantee twice, landing on $1,225,000 in prize money. We look forward to an exciting future in Pennsylvania.

We were also very pleased to strike a deal with Major League Baseball (MLB) to become an Authorized Gaming Operator in the United States, complementing our multiyear partnership with the National Basketball Association announced a year earlier. We rounded off 2019 by announcing that FOX Bet has joined forces with one of the most innovative and forward thinking franchises in the NBA, the Philadelphia 76ers, the first deal of its kind with an NBA franchise. 

Also in the U.S., we have continued to sign more deals to extend our footprint, working with local casinos such as the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort in New York, and a multi-state deal with Penn National Gaming. The Stars Group now has combined access to up to 20 states, subject to license availability, state law and regulatory approvals.

This month [December, 2019], we were also delighted to announce that we had agreed with the minority shareholders of BetEasy, our Australian-based sports betting business, to acquire the remaining 20% interest in the company. The launch of BetEasy through our acquisitions of CrownBet and William Hill Australia in 2018 created one of the leading operators in Australia and increased our exposure to a high-growth regulated market.  

The most important achievements have been providing great products and experiences for our customers – examples include the biggest $25,000 buy-in live tournament in history in the PokerStars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship, our 200 billionth hand celebrations, new products and experiences as part of our deal with the UFC to be the Official Poker Partner, a new record tournament series with The World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) paying out a record $105 million in prizes, and new poker variants including PokerStars Tempest and Deep Water. 

In the UK, we have continued to invest in our products and promotions. A successful start to the English football season, coupled with continued strong engagement from customers who joined earlier in the year, particularly during Cheltenham, resulted in new all-time-high weekends in the third quarter 2019 for stakes and unique active customers at Sky Bet, and new record entries for the Sky Sports Super 6 free-to-play game. Meanwhile, in Australia BetEasy became the official wagering partner of Kayo Sports, a live and on-demand sports streaming service. Looking back at all we’ve achieved, it’s been a remarkable 12 months.

The Stars Group Cherry Hill office, New Jersey

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