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The New Jersey sports betting industry welcomed another new competitor with grand ambitions this week.
BetStars went live on Thursday evening, becoming the eighth online/mobile platform to hit the market in NJ.
At the time of writing, the standalone BetStars platform is only available for Android mobile devices, while the iOS platform is baked into the PokerStars NJ client. The standalone iOS and web-based platforms will follow in the near future.
Parent company The Stars Group already operates the BetStars brand in several jurisdictions abroad. The group, based on the Isle of Man, is the latest in a line of European gaming companies to make its presence felt in US sports betting. It recently completed its acquisition of SkyBet at a cost of nearly $5 billion.
As you might expect, the platform is pretty polished from years of use in other markets. It offers a broad list of sports and a full range of bet types, including in-play betting. The minimum bet appears to be just $0.01 for some events, the lowest in the market. Even better, penny bets are vig free!
BetStars operates under the license of Resorts AC, joining PokerStars NJ and PokerStars Casino to form a comprehensive platform. The two parties announced the broadening of their relationship last month, allowing customers to gamble across all channels under a single account.
“We are excited to introduce BetStars to New Jersey sports fans,” said Matt Primeaux, SVP Strategy & Operations, USA at The Stars Group. “As one of the largest online gaming companies in the world with millions of customers worldwide, we have successfully launched BetStars in regulated markets across Europe and look forward to expanding and enhancing our New Jersey BetStars offering, including through leveraging the Sky Betting & Gaming acquisition following approval from the UK Competition and Markets Authority, to provide a premier product and experience to our customers in this new and developing market.”
Some of the concepts from those other verticals have migrated into the BetStars platform. Spin & Bet is the sportsbook version of the Spin & Go poker game, allowing bettors to risk a portion of their stake for a chance at an higher payout. Only select events are available for Spin & Bet, which awards a maximum multiplier of 10x.
Like its sister brands that preceded it, New Jersey represents the point of entry into the US for BetStars. TSG has also secured access to the Pennsylvania sports betting market, recently joining forces with Mount Airy.
Here’s a peek at the interface on Android:
With the launch of BetStars, NJ bettors now have the same number of options across online and retail channels. Eight properties currently offer on-site sports betting — six Atlantic City casinos and two racetracks farther north.
The future of NJ sports betting is online, though.
In August, the first month of operation, online/mobile revenue accounted for about one-third of the total for the industry. And there were just three available options during the reporting period.
That number has since grown to eight, matching the number of in-person betting facilities. Here’s the running list:
This is likely the last time online sportsbooks will not outnumber retail sportsbooks. Each licensed NJ property can form as many as three online partnerships, making room for dozens of brands in the marketplace.
The landscape is already filling in quickly, and more competition is coming soon. A handful of large European brands, including bet365 and Unibet, are poised to make an NJ debut in the near future.