In recent years, PokerStars has been slowly but steadily expanding its footprint in all forms of online gaming. With a focus on targeting regulated markets and achieving the required licenses wherever they operate, PokerStars is becoming one of the more dominant online betting sites in certain parts of the world.
News broke in November of 2015 that the company would soon open a standalone sportsbook located at BetStars.com. The rumor was confirmed a month later and BetStars is now open for business.
It is exciting to see the PokerStars brand enter online sports betting because they have an excellent reputation for security, fair games and listening to customer feedback. So far, the new sportsbook appears to be keeping with tradition. They have a wide selection of sports betting markets, a plethora of promotions and report to have much more in store moving forward. Today’s BetStars review will cover everything they have on offer so far as well as our first impressions.
Sports Betting Markets at BetStars.com
BetStars went live in late 2015 with coverage of about two dozen sports. The current selection covers all the major sports from around the world such as football, rugby, cricket, American football and so on. The book also includes some of the more “niche” sports such as darts, badminton and futsal. BetStars has also announced that they plan to add more sports in the near future.
Here is the full list of every sport on offer at BetStars now:
|Rugby Union||Aussie Rules||Badminton||Baseball||Boxing / UFC|
|Golf||Horse Racing||Ice Hockey||Rugby League||Snooker|
This is not the most extensive lineup of sports in the world, but we should remember that BetStars is new to the online betting industry. They are highly experienced in online poker and casino gaming, but they tend not to dive in head first without careful preparation to ensure a smooth experience for customers.
Moving forward, you can expect BetStars.com to add additional markets as they hire the right people, accumulate experience and learn from the market. The Rational Group (owners of BetStars/PokerStars) has always run a methodical business and they do not just wing it when offering new products.
The sports markets that are covered are quite a bit more extensive than you would guess from first visiting the website. If you click on “football” and then select “competitions,” for example, you’ll be taken to a page that shows a long list of international markets that cover the word. In the UK alone, they cover at least four different leagues. That’s not to mention the extensive coverage of leagues in Germany, Spain, Italy, France, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and so on. They even take bets on certain international amateur leagues.
Supported odds formats: Fractional, decimal and American
Horse Racing Betting
When BetStars first went live in 2015, one of the main knocks against this new sportsbook was a lack of horse racing options. They went back and fixed that in 2016 and now have a high quality, albeit somewhat limited horse racing betting product. The current state of racing betting at BetStars.com is a platform that is ideal for casual horseplayers and lacking for the more advanced players. Read on for all the details.
To begin on a positive note, BetStars has designed a high quality betting interface that is straightforward and easy to use. The main horse racing page is organized to show all of today’s active racetracks in one place with the option to select individual races to create a custom race card in which you can place your bets.
Selecting any one race takes you to that race’s betting page where you will see basic information for each horse, the current betting odds, a place to view the timeform and options to place bets on each horse winning the race. Where Betstars lacks is the option to place advanced wagers such as forecasts and tricasts. However, they do have a nice accumulator-builder feature in which you can make multiple selections from any number of races to create one betting ticket with enhanced payout odds.
Some live streaming options are available, but these are still somewhat hit-or-miss. BetStars still feels like a work-in-progress in this regard as live streams are still relatively rare here compared to other bookmakers.
One area in which BetStars has gotten off to a strong start is its selection of antepost/futures. If you select the “futures” tab located at the top of the page, you are taken to a page that lists dozens of upcoming meets that include major events such as the Grand National, Cheltenham and more. These wagers are made available very early in advance with odds that are on-par with more established racing betting sites.
Room for Improvement
BetStars horse racing betting offers adequate coverage of international horse racing events, but there is still some room for improvement. For one, the lack of advanced betting options is a big miss. Currently, every race that I have had a chance to view only offer straight-up WIN, each way and accumulator bets. BetStars needs to add forecasts and tricasts at a minimum to make this site truly competitive on the international stage.
Additionally, BetStars could stand to add more handicapping tools beyond basic timeforms. While other horse racing sites are coming out with advanced tools that make it possible to search for horses that meet specific criteria and providing free analyses for handicappers, BetStars is still only offering the most basic of betting services.
If BetStars improves in these areas, it will be ready to compete against the biggest bookmakers in the business. The odds and interface are already competitive, but now it is time for BetStars to take this whole thing to the next level. If they can improve in these areas, BetStars will be one of the better racing betting sites on the market.
Live In-Play Betting
As we expected, BetStars opened with a decent selection of live, in-play betting for major events. At this early stage, the selection is still somewhat limited but BetStars people have stated their intention to ramp up their collection of live betting options. It would be a safe bet to assume that BetStars will soon compete with the biggest bookmakers.
What we’ve seen so far are a handful of events each day with a variety of live markets that allow you to bet on things such as the next goalscorer, final score, match result and more in real time as the game is played. The odds are updated constantly as momentum changes in each match and your wagers are paid out instantly, which makes for some exciting sports viewing.
The PokerStars group is not known for putting together incomplete products so we fully expect to see this portion of the book expand quickly. It’s no big secret that in-play betting accounts for a significant portion of other sports betting sites’ earnings and it seems unlikely that BetStars would neglect that highly profitable market.
BetStars mobile was available from day one with dedicated apps for all Android and iOS devices. You can visit BetStars.com on your mobile browser or search for the term “BetStars” in the app store and you’ll find the app you need. The app so far has proven as reliable and well-built as we would expect from the Stars name.
Real Money Deposits
BetStars.com may be new, but the people behind the scenes have been doing the whole online betting thing for a very long time. They understand their markets very well and know how to move money from one place to another. As BetStars expands into new markets, they will add even more deposit methods that are country-specific.
|EntroPay||Local Bank Transfer||Direct Debit||ELV|
|Debit Cards||Direct Bank Transfer||Check||POLi|
|PokerStarsPay||Online Bank Transfer||Hipay||Todito Cash|
BetStars supports the following default currencies for wagering and for holding money in your account. However, you may deposit via any other currency and BetStars will convert the money into one of those four currencies.