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PokerStars Moves on DFS Desires

PokerStars Logo  Amaya Group, which is the home for PokerStars and Full Tilt has been making noise that they are interested in getting involved in the Daily Fantasy Sports scene.  Last week those noises finally became action and the vision for what things will be like became much clearer.  What is the future?  How does it compare to what people thought it would be?  We will look at those question, and more.

Amaya Buys Daily Fantasy Sports Site Victiv

PokerStars owned Amaya is not going to be changing the Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) industry any time soon, but that’s not what they ever claimed they were going to do anyway.  The important take away from these announcements should instead be the groundwork that is being laid which is going to set the stage for moves 2-5 years down the road.  In this time-frame, Amaya expects to transition from a purely poker related income stream, to one diversified by sportsbook gambling, daily fantasy sports wagering, and online casino gamblers. While this isn’t exciting to customers right now, they are arguably more important than making a big splash right away.

Tepid Excitement Expressed by Amaya Gaming Board

The grandiose ideas by those in the industry that PokerStars would buy a big name site and completely take the Daily Fantasy Sports market by storm are proving to be exceptionally overblown, perhaps even by the most pessimistic of the onlookers.  Victiv is a rather small site, even by Daily Fantasy Sports standards and the announcement of the purchase also came with the warning that Amaya is not going to be putting a lot more money into growing the site, at least not yet.  They claim that the market must get much bigger before they see it as a viable money maker, and as such they are not going to put a lot of money into growing the site until the market is more mature.  This likely means that StarsDraft will remain small for at least another couple of years, and potentially could never really become a major player.

This shouldn’t be shocking to a lot of people, because they did allude to something like this when announcing they were going to get involved in DFS in the first place.  Also, this kind of fits with how PokerStars grew their initial poker business.  They allowed the market to mature a bit and then made good decisions to improve on the product they offered.  They didn’t offer crazy features, promotions or other gimmicks to get really big really fast.  This kind of movement is rare to see in young industries, but it has worked for them in the past, so it is very possible it will work for them again.  It is also intelligent, because no one is 100% how the DFS market will mature, as it could end up just being a fad, or could be a long-term growth market in the gambling industry, it is too early to tell right now.

StarsDraft in the US Market

Interestingly PokerStars will actually be reentering the US market, but to what extent is still not known.  StarsDraft’s sister site (which is what it is called now) Victiv is currently available in 45 of the 50 states.  It is unclear if StarsDraft will continue this trend, or if they will take a more conservative approach overall.  If they do decide to take a more conservative approach we will have to see how they determine which states are going to be best for them and which states are going to create problems, overall.  Regardless though, it is clear that they want to show themselves as a good actor in the case of future regulation of the US market in poker.  By playing by all the rules with Daily Fantasy Sports, they set themselves up for a compelling good actor clause and case, or at least they hope.

Summary

Victiv, or soon to be StarsDraft, is not going to change the DFS landscape right away and might never really change it, but it does provide the groundwork for some interesting stories.  Luckily, players have options if they want to try out DFS on sites that have been doing it for a while and have really large prize pools.  FanDuel and DraftKings are two of the largest sites around and have been doing very well for themselves and players for some time now.  These sites are likely better bets for players to consider if they want to maximize their potential winnings.  Do you play Daily Fantasy Sports?  Does this change your mind about the direction of the industry?  While we find fantasy sports mildly interesting, we still think online poker is the best bet for profit opportunity in the USA. Tell us on Twitter and Facebook!