The world’s largest poker site is now part of the world’s largest online gaming company.
It was announced Wednesday morning that the Stars Group had been acquired by Flutter Entertainment, which also owns daily fantasy sports giant FanDuel, as well as Paddy Power and BetFair. The deal creates the most comprehensive online gaming operation on the planet.
Dublin-based Flutter purchased the Canada-based Stars Group for about $6 billion and will now own about 55 percent of the newly merged company. In 2018, the two companies combined to generate $4.66 billion in revenue.
The current CEO of Flutter, Peter Jackson, will continue to act as CEO of the new company. Rafi Ashkenazi, CEO of The Stars Group, will stay on as the COO of the new operation. Both will also serve as part of the 14-member board of directors.
“This exciting combination will allow us to enhance and accelerate our existing strategy,” said Ashkenazi in a press release. “In recent years, we have transformed TSG from a single product operator in poker, to a diverse global leader with multiple product offerings across poker, gaming and sports betting. The combination with Flutter will further enhance our company’s core strengths, and position us strongly for the future in this rapidly evolving industry.”
By merging the two entities, the new company is expected to create an additional $153 million in yearly profit for shareholders while lowering costs for the company. It also gives the new company avenues into markets it previously didn’t have access to.
With regards to U.S. customers, PokerStars currently only operates in New Jersey with their online poker product, but is planning to launch their product in Pennsylvania soon.
The Stars Group partnered with Fox Sports last May to rebrand their sports betting platform from Stars Bet to Fox Bet. The Fox Bet online sportsbook is currently operating in the Keystone State already. Flutter’s FanDuel Sportsbook is one of the largest grossing sportsbooks in New Jersey. The two products will continue to operate seperately despite being under the same corporate umbrella.
As more states legalize sports betting and online gaming in general, it has become clear that online betting is a key component of the market. After missing its tax revenue projections by a wide margin, Rhode Island’s government passed a second piece of legislation legalizing mobile betting.
By merging, the new company will be able to have a huge piece of the U.S. online sports betting market.
With regards to poker, it is unclear how the merger will affect the company’s status with states who have bad actor clauses in their online gaming legislation. PokerStars has historically been shut out of the market because they continued to serve U.S. customers after the passage of the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.
A Stars second quarter earnings report revealed that the site was focusing less on poker and more on sports betting.