BetStars Sportsbook hit the New Jersey market in September of 2018 and is operated by the same people who run international poker giant PokerStars. The PokerStars brand has long taken a unique approach to online gaming and is known for coming up with new ways to do things, so there was considerable anticipation leading up to the debut of the new sportsbook.
Important update: BetStars has completed the rebranding process and has now launched as FoxBet.com – please visit our complete review for further information.
BetStars is an online betting site brought to you by the same people who introduced PokerStars to the world. A healthy welcome bonus, frequent promotions and unique features make BetStars one of the main betting sites to watch this year.
- Legal and licensed in New Jersey
- Run by the same people who run PokerStars
- Very large variety of sports covered
- Unique promotions and features
- Still lacks web client for desktop access
- E-mail is only contact method for support
In some ways, BetStars is already showing its unique approach to online sports betting with its willingness to book micro bets as low as $0.01, randomly boosting the odds of certain popular wagers and the introduction of a spin-and-bet feature that multiplies odds on some bets by up to 10x.
These features fall pretty much right in line with what we’ve come to expect from the PokerStars people over the years. This is far from a perfect online sportsbook in its current form, but BetStars is undeniably run by people who know how to carve out a niche for themselves in even the most competitive of industries.
BetStars is still an unfinished product at this early stage, but it is taking real money wagers in New Jersey and that’s all the motivation we needed to start this review. As BetStars launches additional features and matures, we’ll update this review to keep you up to date.
Let’s start with a quick rundown of the basics and then continue our BetStars review below.
- BetStars is available in: New Jersey
- Operated by: The Stars Group and Resorts Casino Atlantic City
- Established: The Stars Group established in 2001; BetStars US launched in 2018
- Platforms: iOS and Android
- New customer bonus: Up to $500 in free bets
BetStars Sportsbook holds a license from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) through its partnership with Resorts Casino Atlantic City. This means the site has been inspected by the NJDGE and is considered safe, financially stable and in good standing.
Resorts Casino and The Stars Group (parent company of BetStars) joined forces previously to offer online poker and casino games in New Jersey through under the PokerStars name. Now, they have extended that partnership to include sports betting under the BetStars brand. An account with either site grants access to both.
BetStars Bonuses and Promotions
BetStars launched with a variety of bonuses and promotions ready to go from the start. All new customers can claim up to $500 in free bets while existing customers can get an extra $5 free bet each week. Additionally, the sportsbook offers odds boosts on specific best on certain days of the week.
Welcome Bonus: Up to $500 in Free Bets
The BetStars welcome bonus is not a first deposit match offer like most betting sites licensed in the US. Instead, you are rewarded with free bets after placing wagers of your own.
- Place your first bet: get a free bet of the same size worth up to $50
- Every $150 you wager after that: get an additional $50 free bet for up to $450 in additional free bets
What this all means is your first wager is matched 100% to give you an extra free bet of the same size. If you sign up and place a $25 wager, for example, BetStars will give you a fee bet worth $25. If your first bet is $50 or larger, you’ll get a $50 free bet.
After that, you’ll get an extra $50 free bet for every $150 you wager with your own money. Every time your total betting activity reaches another $150, you’ll get another $50 courtesy of BetStars. In all, you’ll get an extra $450 in free bets once you’ve placed a grand total of $1,350 in wagers using your own money.
You have 90 days to claim as many of these free bets as possible. BetStars does not specify any wagering requirements for this bonus, so once you get the free bet, it’s free to use on any sport. However, free bets may only be used on straight bets and parlays and they expire seven days after being credited to your account.
The other important condition to note is that only wagers placed at odds of -110 or greater qualify towards earning your free bets. This means you cannot meet your next $150 goal by placing a bunch of wagers on heavy favorites at odds of -400. Your wagers need to pay about even money or better to qualify for earning additional free bets.
Weekly Free Bet: Bet $25 Get $5
As an ongoing promotion to reward loyal customers, BetStars will give you an extra $5 free bet every week if you bet at least $25 between Monday and Sunday. This promotion is easy to earn and serves as a quick way to earn free bets, but you must remember to opt-in by logging in to your account and visiting the Challenges Window each week.
Bets placed on any sport at odds of +100 or greater count towards you weekly free bet and all free bets must be used within seven days of being credited to your account.
Other BetStars Promotions
In addition to the welcome bonus and ongoing free bet offer, BetStars hosts a regular rotation of other promotions primarily geared towards the sport of the season. These additional promos are bound to change over time, but here’s a look at some of the offers BetStars had on offer at the time of this review.
- Saturday Super Boost: Each Saturday, BetStars offers a parlay consisting of three NFL teams to win that pays at enhanced odds. You can see the current list of enhanced odds wagers by logging in and visiting the Super Boost page at BetStars.com.
- Sunday Super Boost: This is the same deal as the Saturday Super Boost but involves a different selection of three teams to win. Look for these bets on Sunday to get enhanced odds on select three-team parlays.
Special BetStars Betting Features
Aside from the various bonuses and promotions on offer, BetStars has a few unique features and bet-types that offer a twist on the typical sports betting experience. It’s clear from some of these that BetStars is taking a page from the PokerStars playbook when it comes to changing things up for the customers.
- Stars Stack: Stars Stack allows you pick two or more players from a specific game. If all chosen players score a touchdown (whether it be via passing, rushing or receiving), your bet is a winner.
- Spin & Bet: Spin & Bet wagers cost 10% of your wager in return for giving you a chance to receive an enhanced payout of up to 10x odds. For example, if you place a $10 bet on the Jets to win at +300, $9 will go on the Jets and $1 goes to BetStars. Then, BetStars will randomly choose an odds boost of anywhere from 1x to 10x to potentially make your +300 bet on the Jets pay at +3,000.
- Early Cash Out: This one is not unique to BetStars, but it is still nice to see. With the early cash out feature, you can close an open bet early for a reduced payout to either lock in your profits when your team is up or to stop the bleeding if the game is going against you.
Sports Covered by BetStars.com
The BetStars brand has been active in the European market since 2015, so this is not a brand-new betting site by any means. It is new to New Jersey customers, but the site has had ample opportunity to work out the kinks in other regions and now comes straight to the US with a large selection of sports.
All the major North American sports have a place here as well as international leagues of all types. BetStars covers (or will cover when available) all the following sports:
|Rowing||Rugby Union||Rugby League||Snooker|
|Soccer||Water Polo||Winter Sports||Volleyball|
BetStars supports in-play betting and covers a wide range of events in real time. The focus is on the major North American sports as you would expect, but BetStars also provides in-game markets for various international sports such as soccer.
The in-game betting options at BetStars include standard wagers such as who will win (at updated odds based on the current momentum of the game) as well as shorter-term wagers such as who will score next and more.
BetStars also offers a nice service for customers during in-play betting to protect against last-second odds changes. As an FAQ page on the BetStars website notes, the odds changes can be quite dynamic during a fast-paced game and this can result in the odds changing sharply between the time you select your bet and the point at which you actually place the wager.
If the odds move against you during that short interval, BetStars will always notify you before the wager is placed so you can decide if you still want to take the wager at those odds. If the odds move in your favor, the bet will be placed as normal at the higher odds. You also have the option to change your preferences so that odds changes in any direction prompt you to confirm the bet before it is placed.
BetStars Mobile App and Interface
And now we move into an area in which BetStars does some things well and some things not so well. On the positive side, the dedicated iOS and Android apps are sleek, easy to use and feature-rich.
BetStars mobile provides complete coverage of sports and supports all the major types of bets, including in-play betting, spin & bet and more. Navigation is supported through menus at the top of the app with lists of upcoming games and their odds in the main display area.
The BetStars mobile app also provides a strong in-play betting experience that covers more events in real time than other legal betting sites. Even lower-level tennis matches are covered with live markets on most days. One other thing we like about the in-play experience is the inclusion of a stats interface that provides a graphic display of who has possession, how much time is remaining, the current score and so on.
Where BetStars falls short is in not offering any way to access the lines from a desktop. The BetStars website does not offer a browser-based sportsbook and there is no way to place bets if you access the site from a desktop computer. If you visit the website while at a computer, you’ll simply be directed to download the Android or iOS app.
BetStars has not officially confirmed a desktop client, but various FAQ and “how-to” pages on the BetStars website include instructions for accomplishing tasks using the desktop client. We assume this means a desktop-friendly website is in the works.
While this is annoying at the moment, the lack of a desktop interface should only be a temporary issue. The international edition of BetStars that operates in the UK and elsewhere fully supports all devices, so it stands to reason they’ll be bringing that capability to the US sooner rather than later.
BetStars Deposit Methods
Funding your account should not be an issue as BetStars accepts all the most common deposit methods. The full list includes:
- Instant eCheck: Send money straight from your bank account to your BetStars account. Your bank will not be drafted immediately, but your BetStars account will be credited instantly.
- Skrill: Skrill is an electronic wallet that can be used to store funds, make deposits and receive payouts. This is a convenient method for keeping your sports betting bankroll segregated from the rest of your money.
- Visa and Mastercard: BetStars accepts Visa and Mastercard debit and credit card deposits
- Neteller: Neteller is another electronic wallet that works in the same basic manner as Skrill.
- Instant Online Banking: Use your bank account’s online bill pay feature to authorize a deposit to your BetStars account. Deposits are authorized at your bank’s website using your existing online banking login, so you do not need to share your banking info with BetStars.
- PayNearMe: This deposit method allows you to fund your account with actual cash. When you choose PayNearMe and pick an amount to deposit, you’ll be given a pay slip you can either print off or save to your phone. Take your pay slip to the nearest 7-Eleven and pay the cashier with cash to fund your BetStars account.
- Resorts Cage: Visit the cashier at Resorts Casino in Atlantic City to fund your BetStars account with cash. You’ll need to bring your BetStars account info, a photo ID and confirm the last four digits of your social security number.
- PokerStars Play+ Card: The PokerStars Play+ Card is a prepaid Discover card that you can use to make deposits at BetStars, to make purchases anywhere Discover is accepted and to withdraw cash at ATMs.
BetStars State-by-State Operations
BetStars is operated by one of the largest gaming companies in the world and therefore will have little trouble expanding its area of operations in the United States. With deals in place for sportsbooks in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, BetStars is already on the move.
However, a recent partnership between The Stars Group and FOX Sports may see retail sportsbooks and online betting operations launch under a new name: FOX Bet. The Stars Group will be intimately involved in what should become a major new brand in the US market, but it might instead be under the FOX Bet brand.
BetStars New Jersey
- Availability: Mobile betting
- Land-Based Partner: Resorts Casino AC
BetStars is partnered with Resorts Casino Atlantic City for mobile sports betting only at BetStarsNJ.com. Resorts Casino is also partnered with DraftKings to operate a separate mobile betting app and its retail sportsbook, leaving BetStars an online-only provider in New Jersey today.
- Availability: Mobile betting and retail sportsbook coming soon
- Land-Based Partner: Mount Airy Casino Resort
BetStars parent company The Stars Group reached an agreement with Mount Airy Casino in 2018 to pursue online sports betting and gambling. However, the more recent partnership between The Stars Group and FOX Sports will have any sportsbooks operated by the two launch under the FOX Bet brand.
BetStars in Other States
The Stars Group has access to additional states through an existing partnership with Eldorado Resorts, which operates casinos across the US. With The Stars Group now partnering with FOX Sports, sportsbooks operated by The Stars Group in other states will most likely launch under the FOX Bet brand.