PokerStars is known for having quite an expansive network already, offering its services in multiple locations. However, it seems as though its next country of choice to begin operating in is India. The parent company of PokerStars, known as The Stars Group, announced that it has gone into partnership with a local business in order to launch online poker within the country. This announcement all took place during the company’s fourth quarter and full year presentation, which occurred last week.
The site that will launch is to go by the name of PokerStars India and will use the PokerStars.in domain name. This is set to be a segregated poker room, therefore not one that participates in the main player prize pool. Furthermore, the poker room is expected to provide games that utilise the Indian rupee currency, thereby catering to residents of the country. The Stars Group is looking to see this launch in the second quarter of 2018.
The CEO of The Stars Group, Rafi Ashkenazi spoke of the partnership and the decision to make moves into India. He said that in the country, The Stars Group has entered into a deal with what he described as a “well-established domestic licensed lottery and gaming operator”. While he did not announce the name of this operator at the time, he did say that the unison would provide PokerStars with the ability to access the highly-populated market in India. This prepared statement from Ashkenazi was delivered to investors last week.
Further Details on the Partnership
The CEO further backed up the decision to try and have the brand launched in Q2 of 2018. He said that this will initially be on a ring-fenced basis, further mentioning that he believes it will be a few years before the business reaches profitability. Once it does, The Stars Group can receive noticeable licence fees.
It’s not the first time that the CEO has spoken of making a move into the Indian market. In previous years, he has said that The Stars Group wants to “be there in time” and ensure that his company is the market leader for poker play. PokerStars has estimated that the Indian nation’s poker market would bring in a value of $150 million on an annual basis.
It is believed that the company has joined with Sugal & Damani. At the moment, the PokerStar.in website has a “Coming Soon” message on display. However, it is known that this is owned by the Kolkata-registered company Sachiko Gaming Private Limited. This is a subsidiary of the Mumbai-based gaming company, Sachar Gaming Private Limited. This company has a connection with the aforementioned Sugal & Damani, and it currently provides a rummy site to India. It also had a poker portal known as Khelplay, although this shut down as of March 15. This is thought to be in order to facilitate the PokerStars domain in India.