The Stars Group Becomes Authorized NBA Gaming Operator

The Stars Group Becomes Authorized NBA Gaming Operator

From the moment New Jersey approved PokerStars for online poker and casino operations in that new market several years ago, The Stars Group was ready to reenter the United States market in every way that presented an opportunity.

The May 2018 US Supreme Court decision overturning PASPA and opening the sports betting market to individual states was that perfect opportunity. The Stars Group put its BetStars brand on a pedestal and began networking around it, and it seems to have paid off.

Just weeks ago, The Stars Group announced its partnership with Eldorado Resorts, which put BetStars in a relationship with casino properties in 11 states beyond New Jersey and Pennsylvania pending the passing of sports betting legislation. The deal also put PokerStars and PokerStars Casino in the hands of those casinos as well, should their respective states legalize online poker and internet casino gaming.

The Stars Group just took its next massive step to creating a presence in the American sports market, as it announced a partnership with the National Basketball Association (NBA) this week.


The announcement was a big one, partnering The Stars Group with the NBA in a multi-year deal. The Stars Group will be the authorized gaming operator of the NBA in the United States, complete with the right to use NBA betting data for BetStars where and when it is legalized. Currently, BetStars is only in operation in New Jersey.

In addition, the NBA will promote The Stars Group digitally on NBA TV,, the NBA app, and all NBA social media platforms. The Stars Group will promote the NBA on its gaming platforms, including on PokerStars and BetStars. And the duo will work together on responsible gaming initiatives for consumers and best practices for protecting the integrity of NBA games.

According to NBA Head of Fantasy & Gaming Scott Kaufman-Ross, “This dynamic partnership will be another way to create authentic fan engagement with league logos and official NBA betting data, while leveraging Stars’ global expertise to further optimize the fan experience.”

On the Heels of Other Deals

The Stars Group/NBA deal followed other significant and significant partnerships.

Back in July, the NBA and WNBA partnered with MGM Resorts for digital sports offerings in anticipation of more casinos across America becoming outlets for sports betting as states continue to legalize this type of wagering. MGM Resorts also signed deals with the National Hockey League (NHL) and Major League Baseball (MLB) in subsequent months.

The NBA also recently joined forces with Genius Sports and Sportradar to supply data to sportsbooks.

Deals are being signed quickly as more states legalize sports betting and dozens plan to introduce legislation to that effect at the beginning of 2019.

Benefits for PokerStars

The success of The Stars Group overall will benefit PokerStars, though online poker fans and players are unlikely to see any immediate benefits or perks from the NBA deal.

The Stars Group is making a major play for a primary position in the new US sports betting market. If the poker industry is able to exert more influence with lawmakers who are considering online sports betting, there is a chance to convince them to add online poker and casino games to their legislation.

In most cases, this has yet to happen outside of Pennsylvania. Lawmakers seem anxious to legalize sports betting with land-based casinos and racetracks, with online options not seen as a necessary component. As long as sports bettors are able to bet in person and with the use of apps, there is no reason to launch an entire industry of poker and other games to go with it.

Time will tell if PokerStars is able to benefit from the anticipated rise of BetStars in the US market.


About Jennifer Newell

Jennifer began writing about poker while working at the World Poker Tour in the mid-2000s. Since then, her freelance writing career has taken her from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back to her hometown of St. Louis, where she now lives with her two dogs. She continues to follow the poker world as she also launches a new subscription box company and finishes her first novel. Jennifer has written for numerous publications including and has followed the US poker and gaming market closely for the last 15 years. Follow Jen on Twitter

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