In Partnership With NBA, BetStars Scores First Major Sports League Deal

Posted on December 12, 2018 - Last Updated on January 4, 2019

A recent deal with the National Basketball Association (NBA) gives The Stars Group (TSG), the parent company to New Jersey online sportsbook BetStars, data access and promotional opportunities.

Scott Kaufman-Ross, head of fantasy and gaming for the NBA, commented on the agreement in a press release.

“The Stars Group is an accomplished global online gaming leader and we are excited to work with them on their first U.S. sports league partnership. 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.”

The details of the NBA and BetStars deal

The Stars Group took a page out of MGM‘s book and is now an “official gaming partner” of the NBA. The deal is pretty similar to one between the NBA and MGM which highlights the lack of exclusivity.

So far, the deals between sports leagues and gaming companies have either not entertained exclusive rights, or comes with too hefty of a price tag.

As part of the deal, TSG gains access to official NBA betting data and league marks for use on its sports betting platforms.

TSG will also benefit from the NBA’s promotion of BetStars on the NBA’s digital assets. The assets include:

  • NBA TV
  • NBA.com
  • The NBA app
  • NBA social media platforms

Likewise, BetStars will promote the NBA on its sports betting platforms. Additionally, the two companies will join forces around responsible gaming and efforts to protect the integrity of the game.

The Stars Group and its challenges

The Stars Group has been very clear on its desire and intention to expand throughout the U.S. as legislation permits. Unfortunately for the company, it has some serious baggage.

TSG has been working hard to wipe the stain of PokerStarsforced exit from the U.S. online poker market and a Department of Justice indictment from its record.

Since that fateful day in April 2011, PokerStars has had its challenges re-entering the market. Regulators in Nevada deemed PokerStars a bad actor. The name calling didn’t stop there. The American Gaming Association (AGA) labeled PokerStars a “criminal element” for operating in the U.S. after the passage of Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006.

The company also entered into a failed casino partnership with the Atlantic Club in New Jersey. Ultimately, PokerStars inked a deal with Resorts only to be told the Division of Gaming Enforcement was suspending its review of applications.

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The tide is turning

The tide is turning for TSG though. PokerStars NJ eventually received approval to operate in the Garden State. It was even the market leader until the launch of shared liquidity. It also recently launched BetStars into the New Jersey sports betting market.

Additionally, it easily cleared the regulatory hurdles in Pennsylvania. The company is now busy preparing for the launch of its online casino and poker room. Look for them to come online in the first quarter of 2019. The AGA also appointed the Stars Group to its board of directors.

Without a doubt, partnering with the NBA further legitimizes the company in the eyes of state regulators. The Stars Group SVP Strategy & Operations USA Matt Primeaux released this statement.

“We are excited to partner with the NBA as we continue to execute on our U.S. strategy. This agreement enables us to use official NBA data and league marks, providing a better experience to our customers, while working with the NBA to protect the integrity of games.”

The statement focuses on the benefits of working with the NBA. Make no mistake about it, though, being an “official gaming partner” of one of the country’s most popular sports league is a huge reputation boost for the TSG. It’s a boost it needs if it wants to be a major player in the U.S. sports betting market.

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Kim Yuhl

Kim Yuhl is a freelance writer and blogger who writes about poker culture and the online gambling industry. A part-time member of the poker media since 2013, Kim recently sold her marketing business to write full-time while traveling around the world. You can learn more about her work and travels at kimyuhl.com.

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