PokerStars has long been a behemoth in the online poker world, hosting huge tournaments with hundreds of thousands of players, and raking in massive amounts of money in the process.
But quietly under the radar, PokerStars has been growing its brand to include a cutting edge online casino. The gambling site operator’s major market home has primarily been the UK and Europe as a whole, with this last year giving Poker Stars access to the US via a tiny foothold in New Jersey. Needless to say, Poker Stars is surely hoping that as long as they keep their foot in this door, they can ever increasingly ease it open further into the “motherload” of online gambling markets – that being the US online gambling industry as a whole.
Having operated in the US for several years prior to the passing of the UIGEA (the US anti-online gambling law that has since been deemed inept by the US DOJ), Poker Stars knows a thing or two about the US market. And currently, the company is exercising a healthy amount of savviness in (re)introducing themselves to American players long before they will legally be allowed to make money off of them.
Herein lies the zeitgeist-shaping power of the mobile app coupled with the effective marketing tactic known as the up-sell, or in this case, the delayed up-sell. Although it certainly isn’t a new idea, Poker Stars has been developing a free-to-play application that functions as a tantalizing primer to their online casino. Named the “Casino Rush” application, the title is more than fitting.
Up until now, PokerStars has primarily marketed their online casino and sportsbook to its approximately 105 million poker-playing customers – a system that has worked well. In one year, revenue from this marketing stream jumped nearly ten percent. But now that Amaya Gaming Group is running the show, Poker Stars is ready to launch their casino offering as the new “Belle of the Ball” with a major television and digital commercial campaign aimed at reaching a mainstream audience.
Reaching beyond Poker Stars’ loyal customer base means they will have to also introduce the thrill of playing casino games to people who may have never stepped foot in a land-based casino. This is where the free-to-play mobile app, Casino Rush enters the picture. But unlike typical apps that offer a single game, Casino Rush is an amalgamation of poker, slots, and other casino games that can be played with or with internet connection and in short “time-killing” spurts. Think “Candy Crush” with casino games.
Poker Stars is clearly hoping that Casino Rush will act as the ultimate gateway game in order to woo a whole new swath of customers around the world. And even though players in certain areas will not be legally capable of playing at Poker Stars Casino currently, the iGaming brand is betting that one day the tide will turn. And when it does, they will be primed and ready with new legions of loyal players.