The parent company of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker (FTP) is looking to further broaden its horizons beyond poker into the world of sports betting. Having recently expanded FTP’s mandate via the addition of a selection of roulette, blackjack and other casino options from Leander Games, the Rational Group is now planning to equip FTP with a sportsbook, which would make it the first Rational site to offer a full range of online gambling options. Sharp-eyed readers will recall that CalvinAyre.com predicted these moves way back in 2012 after PokerStars began soliciting feedback from players as to their casino and sportsbetting habits.
A spokesperson for the Isle of Man-based Rational Group told eGaming Review that the company was “exploring opportunities to enter global sports betting markets to enhance our online gaming offerings.” Rational is currently talking to potential suppliers with an eye towards a 2015 launch. Full Tilt has yet to regain the global #2 online poker site ranking it enjoyed before Black Friday, while PokerStars has continued its apparently unassailable role as top dog. Rational acquired FTP in 2012 as part of its settlement of the civil charges filed against Rational by the US Department of Justice on Black Friday.
UNIBET NEW POKER SOFTWARE COMING NEXT WEEK
Also unveiling some new toys is Nordic gambling operator Unibet, which has announced it will launch its new bespoke online poker product on Feb. 19. The Malta-licensed Unibet decoupled its struggling poker product from Microgaming’s MPN in December in favor of a standalone product developed by Estonia-based Relax Gaming, the folks behind Fast Poker. As part of the deal, Unibet also agreed to invest €1.25m in Relax’s future.
As advertised, the new poker offering will cater towards recreational players with social components such as ‘missions’ and ‘achievements.’ To eliminate ‘bum hunting,’ there are no hand histories and players don’t have the option of cherry-picking which table they join (beyond selecting a stake level), nor can they observe cash games in a quest to identify noobs. The staggered launch will begin with a Windows-only version, with a Mac version and iOS/Android mobile options to follow in coming weeks. The new poker software will only be available via Unibet and its female-friendly Maria brand.