The Stars Group which is the parent company of PokerStars and Hong Kong-listed company International Entertainment Corp have entered into a partnership where International Entertainment will receive the sole rights to operate all PokerStars-branded events and poker rooms across Asia.
The Stars Group has signed an agreement to give International Entertainment the sole and exclusive rights to run land-based live events and poker rooms in select Asian countries. A filing to this extent was made recently between The Stars Group and a subsidiary of International Entertainment called Lucky Genius Limited.
PokerStars Continues Asian Expansion
PokerStars is the biggest online poker website in the world and has operations in more than 17 jurisdictions. In an effort to continue its expansion in Asia, PokerStars has started partnering up with Asian companies in the last few years.
Back in 2013, PokerStars inked its very first partnership with Melco Crown Entertainment and set up a poker room inside the City of Dreams casino in Macau. The live PokerStars-branded poker room inside City of Dreams Macau was very popular with poker players and was home to many Macau poker festivals such as the Asia Pacific Poker Tour.
Last year, the PokerStars Festival headed to Asia for the very first time when it held a 34-event stop at the Paradise City Hotel & Resort in South Korea. The 10-day event was a huge success and offered huge guarantees despite its early inception. PokerStars also launched operations in India in April 2018 after it launched the PokerStars.in website which gives Indian players the opportunity to play amongst themselves in Indian rupees.
The online poker industry and PokerStars has struggled to make inroads into the Chinese market. Earlier this month, PokerStars ended its partnership with Melco following the intense poker crackdown in mainland China. Many speculated that the closure of the PokerStars poker room in City of Dreams was due to the Chinese Black Friday.
However, Lawrence Ho, owner of Melco Resorts & Entertainment said that the deal has never been profitable and was the reason behind the closure. According to Ho, the space that PokerStars once took will be converted to house more profitable table games.
Why International Entertainment?
International Entertainment is a publicly-listed company that’s focused on hotels and leasing. It mainly deals with hotel operations, and leasing of investment properties with entertainment products such as casinos. Apart from Lucky Genius Limited, International Entertainment’s subsidiaries include Fortune Growth Overseas Limited, Maxprofit International Limited, and CTF Hotel and Entertainment.
Last year, International Entertainment changed hands for the first time. Once owned and operated by the family of the late Cheng Yu Tung, International Entertainment is now under professional poker player Stanley Choi and his company Brighten Path Ltd. Choi is a frequently spotted at high roller events.
Since Choi’s takeover of International Entertainment, the company has made a number of new moves to expand its presence and reach. The Hong Kong-listed company is happy about the partnership because it enables both companies to grow and diversify their reach and portfolio.
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.”
Industry Responds
The stock market has responded differently to the cancellation of the Stars Group-Melco deal and the signing of the International Entertainment and Stars Group deal.
On May 10, when news about the closing of the PokerStars poker rooms in City of Dreams broke, share price of Melco Resorts shot up slightly from $31.49 to $32.48, although as of this writing, Melco Resorts is back at $31.49. During that time, the Stars Group also experienced an increase when it shares went up from $32.35 to $35.70.
When the new deal between The Stars Group and International Entertainment was made public on Friday, share prices for The Stars Group dropped a tad from $36.65 to $36. International Entertainment Corp on the other hand saw its share prices increase by a slim margin as it went from $1.78 before Friday to end at $1.92 on Monday.

Tight Poker Staff

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Tight Poker Staff

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For nearly two decades, we’ve provided the best in class for poker site reviews, top online poker bonuses, strategy tips, poker news, and exclusive free poker content.  Consisting of a team of poker and gambling experts, we deliver the best online poker brand experience for players of all levels, from the fish to the sharks.
For nearly two decades, we’ve provided the best in class for poker site reviews, top online poker bonuses, strategy tips, poker news, and exclusive free poker content.  Consisting of a team of poker and gambling experts, we deliver the best online poker brand experience for players of all levels, from the fish to the sharks.