PokerStars is steadily growing its Asian presence and this time the online poker giant is partnering with a Hong Kong-listed company to grow its live events and poker rooms in the region.
PokerStars' parent company The Stars Group recently confirmed via a filling that they have inked an agreement with publicly listed International Entertainment Corp. to offer the PokerStars brand in Asia.
According to the deal, International Entertainment's subsidiary Lucky Genius Limited will be the sole company that will have the rights to franchise and hold PokerStars-branded events and launch PokerStars-branded poker rooms in various Asian countries.
The deal follows PokerStars' aggressive push in the Asian region, recently highlighted by its entrance in the Indian market. In April, PokerStars officially launched PokerStars India via the PokerStars.in website where Indian players can now finally play amongst themselves and bet in their local currency.
PokerStars has had its eye on the Asian market for the last few years and in 2017, the brand held the very first PokerStars Festival in Asia at the Paradise City Hotel & Resort in South Korea.
PokerStars' Presence in China
PokerStars has had a very turbulent time in China in the last few years. In 2013, they entered a partnership with Melco Crown Entertainment to launch a PokerStars-branded poker room inside City of Dreams of Macau. However that poker room was shut down earlier this year after Melco Resorts & Entertainment confirmed that they closed the poker room because it turned out not as profitable as expected.
In 2015, PokerStars sponsored APPT Nanjing Millions was shut down by the Chinese authorities when police raided and cancelled the poker tournament. Although PokerStars' Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) continues to deliver well in other destinations like Macau and South Korea, the APPT Nanjing Millions back in 2015 was one unfortunate incident for the brand.
Enter International Entertainment
With the new deal with International Entertainment, The Stars Group hopes to reassert their presence in the special administrative region of Macau. Although poker has completely been banned in China, the presence of PokerStars in Macau is important since Macau continues to be the gambling destination for Chinese gamblers who have no poker or gambling opportunities inside Mainland China.
International Entertainment believes they are also set to grow with the partnership.
In a statement, International Entertainment said,
Since it launched in 2001, PokerStars has become the first choice of players all over the world, with more daily tournaments than anywhere else and with the best online security… [The deal will help us diversify] whilst maintaining the group’s core businesses of hotel operations and leasing of properties for casino and ancillary leisure and entertainment operations