BetStars is the sports betting website operation that has grown from the seeds of the online poker site PokerStars. It is a product that has not been without its controversies, particularly in the poker world, but it exists as a competitive bookmaker in a very crowded market.
PokerStars was originally founded back in 2001 by Isai Scheinberg and Mark Scheinberg. The website was thrust into the spotlight in 2003 when the first ever online qualifier for the World Series of Poker Main Event that year, Chris Moneymaker, prevailed victorious after qualifying via a PokerStars satellite.
However, the brand has not been without its controversies. On 15th April, 2011, the US Department of Justice seized the .com domain of PokerStars as part of an investigation into suspicion of money laundering and fraud.
After a prolonged investigation, PokerStars came to an agreement with the US Department of Justice to purchase rival online poker site Full Tilt Poker that had also been included in the investigation and pay the US Department of Justice $225 million to consummate the full asset transfer of the purchase of Full Tilt Poker.
Since then, PokerStars has looked to expand beyond the poker brand with BetStars and PokerStars Casino both being launched to offer additional products to customers. Unfortunately, this has resulted in a number of the Team PokerStars Pro line-up resigning from their positions including poker professional Victoria Coren Mitchell due to their discontent at PokerStars abandoning a 100% commitment to poker.
BetStars was launched in December 2015 under the Amaya Gaming umbrella and has offered customers a chance to bet on one of 23 sporting markets since it began operations. The bookmaker invested a lot of money into promoting its brands with ambassador deals struck with a number of famous sports people including Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Fatima Moreira de Melo.
It has gone on to become one of the most talked about online bookies of all-time with many still unsure about how attractive the bookmaker is given its history as an online poker brand that was involved in a high-profile legal battle with the US government.