PokerStars Sends Out Daily Fantasy Sports Survey; Is NFL Launch Still Coming?

Written By Dustin Gouker on July 14, 2015

PokerStars emailed a survey to past online poker players in the United States, asking them to answer questions about daily fantasy sports, as the online gaming giant prepares to enter the fantasy industry.

PokerStars’ parent company Amaya, announced its intentions to get into the DFS space in March.

What the survey asked

It is not known how many former and current PokerStars users were contacted, but American players who have not been able to play at the online poker site since 2011 were emailed. (Most online poker sites stopped operating in the United States after “Black Friday,” the day the Department of Justice seized the domains of PokerStars and some other online poker sites and shut them down for operation in the U.S.)

After a brief intro in the email, PokerStars asked recipients to click on a link to a survey. It asked a variety of basic questions as feelers for a DFS product (have you played fantasy sports, did you know it’s legal, would you play DFS at PokerStars, etc.)

If Amaya were going live for NFL season…

The timing of the survey is curious, if it were sent out en masse today. The survey appeared more like one a company would send out when it was deciding whether or not to do “x.” It did not have the vibe of a company ready to launch daily fantasy sports within the next two months.

Many of the questions were information-gathering in nature, and tried to gauge the opinions of potential players on a variety of subjects.

One of the most curious questions was this: “If PokerStars were to offer Daily Fantasy Sports how likely would you be to play on PokerStars or a PokerStars’ backed site?

Shouldn’t PokerStars have surveyed players on this subject before it announced it was launching a DFS product, at all?

The latest on PokerStars/Amaya’s planned launch was that it would come in time for NFL. But Amaya CEO David Baazov hedged his company’s timeline on its DFS product a few months ago, and this survey seems to point toward the idea that an early September launch might be more of a “maybe” than a definite.

Other interesting notes from the survey

Here are some other tidbits of speculation or insight we gleaned from the questions PokerStars asked:

  • Which sports?: The survey asked players about nearly the full gamut of daily possibilities, including golf and NASCAR — sports DraftKings offers, but Yahoo and FanDuel do not. Mixed martial arts (UFC) was not included in the survey.
  • Aimed at Americans?: Are you aware that Daily Fantasy Sports games are now legal to play for real money in the US?” was included in the survey, meaning this survey, not shockingly, was likely aimed at U.S. residents.
  • At the same time, British terminology: The phrase “weekends sports fixtures” was used in the survey, which is a curious choice of words, since Americans who don’t follow soccer probably have no idea what this means. Amaya does have licenses in jurisdictions throughout the world, so it’s possible the survey went out to non-Americans, as well. Or perhaps that part of the survey just wasn’t well written.

The full survey

Here are all the questions asked, if you don’t want to go through the survey:

  • Have you ever played any Fantasy Sports?
  • Have you ever played any Daily Fantasy Sports – where you pick a fantasy team for a heads up or league tournament with the results dependent on just one days/weekend’s set of result?
  • Do you play Daily Fantasy Sports for money?
  • How often do you play Daily Fantasy Sports?
  • Are you aware that Daily Fantasy Sports games are now legal to play for real money in the US?
  • Which of these Daily Fantasy Sports operators have you heard of?
  • How important are/would the following be in your choice of a Daily Fantasy Sports provider? (1 – not important; 5 very important)
    • Challenge your friends option
    • Payment options available
    • Promotions/offers
    • Free play available
    • Ease of use/user experience
    • Mobile offer
    • Recommendation from a friend
    • Variety of stake levels
    • Trust in the providers name/brand
    • Pay out speed
    • Celebrity endorsement
    • Sports offered
    • Prize pool available
  • Are there any other important FACTORS in your choice of a Daily Fantasy Sports provider? (Blank space provided for typing)
  • If PokerStars were to offer Daily Fantasy Sports how likely would you be to play on PokerStars or a PokerStars’ backed site?
  • How much do you agree/disagree with the following statements? (1 – strongly disagree; 5 strongly agree)

    • I’d only play Daily Fantasy Sports with a brand I knew
    • Poker and Daily Fantasy Sports are quite similar disciplines
    • PokerStars is a brand I trust
    • There’s a lot of skill in Daily Fantasy Sports
    • PokerStars would be better sticking to poker
  • How important are/would be the following as motivations around playing Daily Fantasy Sports?
    • Fun
    • Opportunity to use my interest/knowledge in sport
    • The personal challenge
    • Opportunities to challenge friends
    • Adding something extra to the days/weekends sports fixtures
    • Opportunity to make money
    • Competition
  • Have you and other comment around Daily Fantasy Sports and PokerStars’ potential involvement in this area?
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Dustin Gouker

Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner.

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