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Amaya Group has officially launched its Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) offering, just in time to capitalize on the NFL regular season opening week. StarsDraft, which was acquired last month and re-branded from Victiv, is currently live in the United States market.

The service is backed by Amaya’s PokerStars brand, and plans to draw from its massive database of 95 million registered individuals throughout the world to play “catch up” with competitors such as FanDuel and DraftKings, which are already established within the industry.

“With the launch of StarsDraft by PokerStars, we provide a safe and secure daily fantasy sports experience that millions of U.S. consumers can trust,” said StarsDraft CEO Matthew Primeaux  in a September 9 press release. He also added that Amaya Gaming’s database includes an “estimated 1 in 10” American adults.

Bankroll Builder Free Contests

One method that StarsDraft plans on implementing to attract new DFS players is its Bankroll Builder contests. The games do not require any real money buy-in but payout real cash prizes — something that is sure to lure first-time DFS competitors.

The contests let new players participate in match-ups versus “computer generated” opponents as they learn the format types and jargon of Daily Fantasy Sports.

The Bankroll Builder promotion could be StarsDraft’s way of shielding newcomers from seasoned high-stakes pros who make up a large portion of current DFS real money activity via multiple entries into a single competition.

StarsDraft Home Page

The Somerville Factor

One intriguing aspect of the StarsDraft’s marketing efforts is that they won’t include the name and brand of Team PokerStars Pro Jason Somerville. Known as “jcarverpoker” on Twitch, Somerville has been instrumental in promoting both the PokerStars online poker site as well as poker in general through his Run It Up live stream on Twitch.

However, Somerville recently signed as an ambassador for DraftKings, which will compete directly against StarsDraft. It seems odd that Amaya was not able to secure a sponsorship deal with the “King of Poker Live Streaming” immediately after it purchased Victiv.com.

NFL Regular Season Opening Weekend

Although the NFL regular season officially begins Thursday, September 10, when the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots host the Pittsburgh Steelers at Foxboro, the bulk of Week 1 games will be played on Sunday.

Thanks to a legislative “carve out,” Daily Fantasy Sports enjoy free reign in the United States while online poker is only licensed in three states: New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware.

It will be interesting to see just how many ex-PokerStars players from the United States jump on board the StarsDraft train out of past loyalty to the most recognized online poker brand on the planet.

David Huber

David Huber has been involved in the poker industry for more than a decade: initially as a professional online poker player and later as an editor, consultant, writer, and forum manager. Known as "dhubermex" online, David's poker-related work has been heavily published across numerous websites since 2004.

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