Amaya Gaming’s PokerStars is once again offering online gaming in the US after officially launching its StarsDraft DFS product today.
In August, the company announced that it would acquire DFS site Victiv and relaunch the company under its own brand. Now, the Victiv.com domain automatically redirects to StarsDraft.com, where incoming players receive the following welcome message from the company.
“We are excited to announce that Victiv has partnered with Amaya and the PokerStars brand to bring you the new StarsDraft.com.”
“We look forward to continuing to offer the same high standard of customer support, player engagement, and product innovation under our new brand.”
Players can rest assured that their balances, account details and bonuses have remained unchanged after the transition.
Not so fast, Michigan
Like most DFS site, StarsDraft has elected to block residents in Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana and Washington. Unlike its competitors, the company has chosen to block Michigan residents as well. The decision is likely based on recent comments made by the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB), which believes that DFS is illegal under its state law.
Michigan players who held accounts with Victiv will not be forced to leave the site immediately, however. In an email to affected users, StarsDraft explained that they would no longer be able to deposit, but would have full access of their account for a period of 120 days (until January 1, 2016).
Those players need to make sure to withdraw their funds from the site before that time, as they will no longer be able to access their StarsDraft account after that date.
You either, Canada
Canadian DFS users won’t have the pleasure of playing DFS on StarsDraft either, as the company has elected to block the entire country. PokerStars has often prided itself on being one of the most regulated online gaming companies in the world, and strives to operate under the full letter of the law. Perhaps due to the legal ambiguity of DFS in Canada, Stars has decided to play it safe and focus on jurisdictions where the game is explicitly legal in the US.
iGaming regulators are watching
The launch of StarsDraft also gives the company a chance to showcase its product to US online gaming regulators, who are no doubt watching PokerStars closely as it tries to enter the legal iGaming market there. Ensuring a smooth transition from Victiv to its own brand could go a long way to convince gaming control board agents all over the country that it can provide a safe, high-quality product for US users. With PokerStars hoping to hear its fate imminently on whether it may offer its iGaming product in New Jersey, it will need to be on its best behavior.
No blockbuster GPPs
In terms of Guarantees, StarsDraft currently offers nothing comparable to FanDuel’s $5 million Week 1 NFL GPP or DraftKings’ $10 million mega-Guarantee. At the moment, the Amaya-owned company has several Week 1 contests listed, with its highest GPP promising a payout of just $100,000.