BetStars, sister brand of renowned online poker website PokerStars, might be a relative newcomer to the online sports gambling area, but in just a couple of short years it has closed the gap between itself and the giants of the European sport booking industry.
With the introduction of BetStars NJ on September 13, 2018, it begins down a journey to gain the same big-name status here in the states. BetStars NJ is your New Jersey sports betting arm of The Stars Group (TSG), and represents an expansion of TSG’s gaming venture with Resorts Casino in Atlantic City. The publication’s launching in New Jersey comes a mere four months after the U.S. Supreme Court pulled the plug PASPA, trailing the debut of first mover DraftKings Sportsbook by about six months.
The expected sports betting app lives up to its namesake in lots of ways, but for every two experts there’s a con. The program’s proprietary platform is in many ways second-to-none, featuring tons of account management features, cool creations, and top-notch integration with all the TSG’s present NJ online poker item. BetStars NJ is also an innovative app, offering players experiences that they just won’t find elsewhere. Bet variety? Strong cashiering? Great promotions? BetStars NJ has it all.
Yet, less than leading pricing in spots, lackluster support, and an sometimes dizzying user interface knocks the book down a peg. There’s still more good than bad, but a little refinement may be in order.
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How it works
BetStars has taken a traditional route with its latest welcome bonus, but that’s not always a terrible thing. The site offers a full refund up to $500 on a player’s first bet, pending that wager loses. If the bet wins, players can receive whatever they’re owed in keeping with the odds, but will not lock down a bonus. Liken into a freeroll.
There are a few caveats worth understanding, the majority of which don’t diminish the deal. For starters, the free wager can only be used on straights and parlays. Twist & Bet and round robins are not eligible.
Also, players that made their first deposit with Neteller or Skrill are not eligible for the offer. This is a very strange nuance, and one which may go easily overlooked without prior understanding. On the plus side, it doesn’t seem that there aren’t any chances restrictions tied to this free bet. Therefore, in the event that you want to play it safe and bet on a heavy popular with -500 odds, feel free to do this — only know that just the winnings from free stakes will land in your cash balance, rather than the free bet sum itself.
What’s special about BetStars online sportsbook?
Great (and numerous) promotions: Hardly anyone does promotions very like BetStars NJ. From straightforward matched free stakes, to big brand new player sign up bonuses, along with an assortment of creative one-off events, there appears to always be multiple offers running, a lot of which can be piled, and all of which provide good value for deal-seeking bettors.
Innovation: BetStars NJ delivers various advanced performance. Some of its innovations, like”Cash Out” can be located at some other NJ online sports gambling websites, while others, like Spin & Bet and Odds Boost Stacks are unique to the operator.
Integration: The BetStars NJ program is intimately connected to the popular PokerStars NJ online poker app, and shares a wallet with the same. We’re expecting TSG to proceed even farther here, integrating its online casino as part of this program, and linking together PokerStars NJ and BetStars NJ on desktop.
Bet variety: BetStars NJ might not have the most stakes of any operator, but it still provides a ton, one of those imaginative multi-part props which often receive encouraged chances. This, along with the creations BetStars NJ brings to the table, introduces a level of fun that is absent on more traditional NJ online sports betting sites.
What is not so particular?
A few of the lines on single-game bets aren’t great.
Weak prop betting.
No PayPal … yet.
BetStars NJ Sportsbook: Software photo The BetStars NJ app looks and functions about as well as one might expect from a business famous for its cutting-edge and proprietary gaming platforms. Well, perhaps nearly as well.
Upon logging it (or just launching the program ), players will be treated to a homepage which highlights the apps best promotions, its most popular bets (broken out tabularly by game ), and some featured”Odds Boosts”. Additionally, there are sections for trending stakes and present in-game bets. It is all very nicely laid out, effectively packing a lot of info to a tight area without placing too much strain on the eyes.
BetStars NJ App Homepage
Aesthetically and this is a beautiful program, with a vibrant yet digestible color scheme, plenty of graphical icons, and that level of responsiveness TSG products are known for. Account management features — there are a lot of them — are neatly tucked away in a readily reachable side-menu, while essential markets are recorded horizontally at the peak of the screen. Additionally, players may quickly access PokerStars NJ from the app, using the duo sharing a common wallet. Cashier accessibility, promotional tabs, and consumer customization settings are a click away. Concerning whistles and bells, players will not find greater than BetStars NJ.
There are a couple drawbacks. On occasion, we found that gambling options for person games/matches were slow to load, or did not load at all. A simple refresh normally fixed the problem though. Furthermore, the program is somewhat unwieldy is spots. Detecting a current market, and straight stakes within that market is really a breeze. But the stakes for a single match are sort of merely lumped together, sometimes making it difficult to find a wager of your liking. It’s fine for less popular competitions, but for instance, and NFL sport, filters are fine.
Otherwise, BetStars NJ does an admirable job of grouping futures bets, and the combo of the Calendar and Highlights tabs works superbly for bettors looking to plan out some higher value bets.
The big no-no at launch was that BetStars NJ was initially only available for Android powered devices, together with iOS and pc access added later. We are pretty sure that this is a manifestation of everyone rushing to advertise in time for NFL Season 2018-19, and subsequently releasing unfinished products. This black mark was later addressed with BetStars NJ now on the appropriate platforms.
Depositing and withdrawing at BetStars online sportsbook at NJ
As a result of its integration with the PokerStars NJ platform, BetStars NJ didn’t start from scratch with its own hive, and it shows. There is a robust array of secure and dependable depositing and withdrawal options listed on the program, with the sole notable exception being PayPal, but that’s supposedly coming soon. Once it does, BetStars NJ will rank up there with Play SugarHouse Sports as supplying the ideal payment processing rollout from the biz.
PAYMENT METHOD DEPOSIT? WITHDRAWAL? MIN. DEPOSIT
ACH (eChecks) Yes $10
Visa/MasterCard Yes No $10
PokerStars Play+ Yes Yes $10
Neteller Yes Yes $10
Skrill Yes Yes $10
Online Bank Transfer Yes No $10
PayNearMe Yes No $10
Money @ Resorts Cage Yes $10
BetStars NJ will conveniently save the most recently employed deposit procedures, allowing bettors to put subsequent deposits much quicker than they’d be able to otherwise. Deposits generally validate inside a blink of an eye, even quicker than on any other program we have played on.
One little drawback is that BetStars NJ sets first deposit limits fairly low. Being limited to between $500 — $640 a $ and $2,000 a month for most methods feels a little too restrictive. High rollers are probably better off with Skrill, which puts a $15,000 monthly limitation, or of heading down to Resorts AC, where they could deposit up to $30,000 a shot ($100,000 monthly limitation ). Of course, players can also request increased limits, and support will generally oblige, pending all of their previous deposits processed.
What are the lines like at BetStars NJ?
Players looking for consistently great lines throughout the board might be somewhat disappointed with BetStars NJ. While its NFL point spreads and totals are generally level for the industry, the money lines we observed so far for MLB, NFL, and other sports are still pretty mediocre: On average, they are still a signal better than the money lines posted on DraftKings Sportsbook, but amounts worse compared to FanDuel Sportsbook and Caesars.
This is not to mention BetStars NJ is devoid of top value opportunities, far from it. Besides myriad promotions, many of which considerably fortify a player’s expected value, the program will occasionally post a really competitive pre-game money line. So keep an eye out. Not to mention, players that like to roll the dice on elaborate prop bets, will often get to do so on BetStars NJ at greater chances, thanks to the app’s Odds Boost innovation. And we can guarantee you that Odds Boosts are not only a once-in-a-while gimmick. No, rather it looks like all major market games include an assortment of these low juice wagers.
Regular old fashioned bets are likely best avoided since the traces on even odds outcomes generally hover round -120, which is not excellent. And in-game odds are predictably worse than their pre-game counterparts, but not by any material level more than they’re on most other NJ online sportsbooks.
BetStars NJ is now a little light on markets, but predominantly, are the rest of the NJ industry’s sports gambling apps. Rather than the 25+ markets available on BetStars’ international supplying, in New Jersey we get 10 to begin:
Basketball (such as NCAA)
Football (such as NCAA)
Soccer (multiple leagues)
Bet variety at BetStars online sportsbook
BetStars NJ might be a small light on markets, but it nearly makes up for this by providing various bets within each current market, some of which are presented via gambling formats that can not be enjoyed elsewhere. Does it sport the most stakes of any NJ online sportsbook? No, definitely not, but it ranks near the middle, and particularly excels at the soccer industry.
Concerning gaming formats, BetStars supports the majority of the conventional fare including straight bets, totals, futures, parlays, and props. Surprisingly, teasers aren’t available on the site. For us, this signals that BetStars maybe has not completely adapted to the NJ market, as teasers are primarily connected to popular American sports such as soccer and basketball.
Also, players large on betting props might be somewhat frustrated, as while BetStars NJ does provide a wholesome number of obscure team and individual stakes, that amount remains less than half what we’ve seen at other novels.
In-play, a gambling format where bettors can place wagers on a game in-progress, is all of the rage of late. So it was little surprise to find the option featured front-and-center on the BetStars NJ app.
BetStars NJ does a serviceable, but barely mind-blowing, job with in-play. Technically, everything appears up to snuff, with bets upgrading, and the host responding swiftly to in-play bet asks, so much sothat there was never actually a question of whether we would be shut out of a line.
Yet, for a European operator with oodles of money, we just expected a little more variety. In equity, for the larger contests the app will not offer a decent swatch of in-play possibilities, and we’re sure that number will improve even further over time, however, the ordinary contest might only encourage half-a-dozen in-play stakes or less. Better than nothing, but hardly enough to differentiate BetStars NJ from the bunch.
As a result of the money out attribute on BetStars NJ, players now have a valid way to quickly modulate their risk. Money out functions pretty much just how one might anticipate, allowing players the option on direct and championships (pre-game and live) to Get Out Of Dodge, so to speak, locking up less money they want if they won, but more than they would if the wager was lost.
The exact amount of a cash out is a manifestation of their initial wager dimensions and the current in-play odds. For instance, if the Philadelphia Eagles are ransacking Atlanta Falcons 35 — 10 at halfway, and you bet that the Eagles, well a cash out would likely pay near the figure if the bet was actually won. Flip the script and you may get a few bucks back for every hundred .
Spin & Bet
What would a Stars app be without some sort of slot machine mechanic?
Twist & Bet is perfect for action junkies which don’t mind giving a bit for the odds of winning a whole lot. How it works is that players first allocate 10 percent of their wager to the fates. Afterward, BetStars NJ determines via RNG when the remaining 90 percent of the wager will receive an enhanced payout, if it win. A little less than half the time (47.7%) it will not, but the other instances, it’ll receive a bulge between 1.2x and 10x.
Naturally the odds of hitting a high multipler are significantly lower than a smaller enhancement. For instance, the likelihood of landing 1.5x are a respectable 7.5%, but gamers just have a 1 in 1,000 chance of scoring that elusive 10x multiplier.
Give BetStars NJ credit for implementing a feature that introduces an additional element of fun to sports gambling, which on average will see players exchange 10 percent of their bet for augmented payouts more than half of the time — bad.
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BetStars NJ promos
There’s perhaps no additional NJ online sportsbook which will promotions as well as BetStars NJ. Beyond its successful welcome package, the app offers players a multitude of strategies to boost their odds of success. Its promotional vehicles run the gamut from small on-the-fly bonuses, to season long occasions designed with maximum sweat in your mind.
Here’s a Fast glimpse of the Kinds of promos players can anticipate on the routine:
Matched free bet: Bet a certain amount, get a free bet in accordance with the dimensions of the first wager. For example, BetStars NJ rolled out a voucher at launch where players could get a $5 free bet on their first $25 at wagers, weekly. Expect more of those easy, yet generous, promotional types in the future.
Deposit bonus: Deposit a particular amount and get a percentage bonus, capped in a specified amount. Usually comes affixed with a small wagering requirement.
Odds Boost: More regularly occurring event than promotion, BetStars NJ frequently grants players better chances on a range of prop bets for favorite competitions. Be on the lookout for the red fire symbol beside an event, as that indicates Odds Boosts bets are available.
Super Boost: Similar to Odds Boosts, except more tailored toward gamers. Instead of winning enhanced payouts on straight bets, players that opt-in to Super Boosts will net a larger score when they strike a parlay.
Past the aforementioned, we have also seen the occasional high-value one-off. A good example could be 100/1 Super Bowl Winner, which provided players 100/1 chances on the first $5 of a Super Bowl prospective wager. That is a pretty big deal considering a few teams have been listed at 10/1 or better, opening the door for players to win more than 10x what they would normally.
It was recently announced that PokerStars NJ will be transitioning from its existing VIP program, and we all expect BetStars NJ to do the same. In its stead will be Stars Rewards, a loyalty program that communicates rewards around the way players wager, across all TSG solutions.
In its core, the program is based on bringing enough rewards points via real-money play to fill up a progress bar and earn a Chest. In the Chest is going to be a swatch of personalized rewards, which might include StarsCoin (which will be the organization’s virtual money ), free play, and other prizes.
But let’s step back for another, as saying that the rewards are fully personalized could be a small misnomer. On the contrary, it’s more of a personalized selection of rewards, with the specific prizes inside that range depending on chance. There are six levels of Chests, which range from a Red Chest, which can hold up to $50 in rewards, to some Platinum Chest, which is possibly worth $1,000. However, winning the maximum total is just 1 in 10,000 crapshoot. More generally, Red Chests will be appreciated at a under a quarter, and sometimes even Platinum Card Chests will just be worth $62 or less 95 percent of the time, with added featured rewards (which can be offered regularly) bolstering the average prize amount.
To be able to earn Chest upgrades players will have to first win four Chests in a day. They can ease the process of earning updates by applying Boosts, which twice the rate at which rewards points are earned. If this all seems complex, it’s — or at least the inner workings are. However, in terms of making rewards, it is as straightforward as wagering real-money about the program and seeing what you get.
We expect Stars Rewards to go live across all TSG goods by the end of 2018.
Customer support BetStars NJ provides a range of support options, with a few being more helpful than others. For the most frequent inquiries there’s a FAQ, that is fairly well laid out and covers a diverse array of topics.
For players needing more personalized attention, their very best option might be to contact an agent via Live Chat. Wait times to get in contact with an agent were on the brief side, however, responses often took some time, and we got the feeling that more often than not, support wasn’t properly equipped to answer our trickier inquiries. But they were pleasant enough and did at least seem to be making a solid effort.
There is also a touch service form, which appears to be bugged, as we weren’t able to utilize it. In theory, players may utilize this form to write messages to support, which is responded to via email. Along with their message, players are encouraged to select relevant classes and sub-categories, so that it’ll be easier for support to kick the question to the proper department, resulting in a quicker turnaround time.
BetStars NJ does permit gamers to call in directly. Rather they must ask for a callback.
Overall, our support experience was a mixed bag, and we anticipate somewhat better.
More about BetStars
Following Amaya’s acquisition of PokerStars in June 2014, the company started exploring opportunities outside of poker, turning its focus partly to sports wagering verticals. In August of the next calendar year, the iGaming behemoth bought daily dream sports (DFS) website Victiv, later rebranding it as StarsDraft.
The newly-minted StarsDraft had its official U.S. launching in September 2015, competing with the likes of business giants FanDuel and DraftKings. Only 1 month later, but the company made a decision to limit operations to just four states, citing regulatory worries.
Following StarsDraft’s entry into the DFS market, the company pushed forward towards offering full-on sports betting in jurisdictions beyond the U.S., in which the sector remained explicitly prohibited. While Stars had taken its first sports wager back in March 2015, it didn’t spin off its sportsbook as a standalone site until that November, when it purchased the BetStars.com domain.
1 month after, the performance went live, offering 23 betting markets, such as eSports. The site was originally powered by technology supplied by UK sports platform provider Amelco.
True to form, PokerStars soon began innovating at the area, starting a feature named Spin & Bet — a hybrid sports game that bore similarities to the popular Spin & Go poker matches.
In addition, it started fusing poker with sports wagering, offering betting odds on the PCA Main Event final table and the 25K High Roller. Other innovations followed, like BetStars Sports Jackpots, a mix between DFS and real money tournaments.
PokerStars launched its internet poker merchandise in New Jersey in 2016 through a venture with Atlantic City’s Resorts. When sports gambling was made legal in the state, it continued its connection with the casino, starting its BetStars NJ Android app on September 19, 2018.
PokerStars’ sports was the funniest sports gambling app to start in the Garden State, also was a part of a flurry of sportsbooks to go during the period of time.
Read more: nflbettingplayer.com