The Stars Group

The Stars Group reported $211 million in Q4 2018 online poker revenue from its primary “international” business segment. This represents a 10% decline year-over-year and the lowest in six quarters. On a constant currency basis, the operator says the decline was only 4.4%.

Overall the group still closed out the year with marginal online poker growth: At $886.6 million, it represents a single percentage-point increase over 2017 (fractionally less in constant currency). It is the second successive year of revenue growth in poker, and practically in-line with the 2015 high of $887.2 million.

The international segment as a whole, which includes BetStars and PokerStars Casino, generated $354.7 million. This represents a year-over-year decline of 1.5% in Q4, the first time in the group’s modern history—since casino and sports betting launched in 2015—that overall group revenue for a quarter has dipped when compared on an annual basis. In a constant currency, the segment actually grew 4.3%, according to the company.

For the year as a whole the legacy segment showed consistent growth. At $1.4 billion, it marks a healthy 10% growth over 2017 and the fourth year in a row of double-digit gains.

Broken down by product vertical, poker made up 60% of the group’s “international” revenue in Q4 2018, down from 65% in the same period the year prior. Casino is at 32% (Q4 2017: 25%); sports remains at 6%.

During 2018, TSG acquired two online sports books in Australia and Sky Betting and Gaming in the UK, transforming the landscape of the company. Total group revenue for the last quarter was $653 million, almost double what it was last year.

Total group revenue for 2018 exceeded $2 billion for the first time. While the legacy business is still the majority share of group revenue, the UK business now accounts for 35%, and Australia 11%.

Indeed, perhaps the standout fact from the data is that, in Q4 2018, TSG generated more revenue from sports betting than poker for the very first time: sports revenues from SBG, the new Australian BetEasy operation, and the existing BetStars generated a combined $224 million; total poker revenue, by contrast, which is predominantly PokerStars but also includes a small contribution from Sky Poker, was $214 million.