PlayStar Casino is a brand new name to the US market. However, unlike many of its NJ gambling competitors, this European-based operator is a start-up operation meaning the Garden State is the first market where the PlayStar slots and table games (live dealer included) are available.
To get an overview of PlayStar’s approach to the mature NJ online casino market (at least as far as North America is concerned), PlayNJ caught up with Per Hellberg, CEO of PlayStar.
PlayNJ: How exciting is it that PlayStar Casino is finally live in New Jersey?
Per Hellberg: We are extremely excited and thrilled to finally have launched our online casino product into New Jersey. After all, we’re a start-up and two years ago, this was just an idea in the minds of our founders. Since then, we secured market access through Ocean [Casino Resort], built an astonishing and very advanced product, established a great team and created a fantastic company.
People told us that a start-up with no existing revenues couldn’t do this, but we think differently. Being a start-up is probably our biggest strength as we don’t have to battle with legacy from old business. We can build for the future with nothing holding us back.
PlayNJ: Why did PlayStar decide to go with New Jersey first?
Per Hellberg: Entering New Jersey first was a clear choice. It’s the most established online casino market in the US and if you can make it there, we believe you can make it anywhere. The New Jersey customer is very knowledgeable about casino and with our casino-first approach, we believe can serve them a better online casino experience by adapting our product offering based on their personal needs.
PlayNJ: What are some of the biggest challenges PlayStar is facing as far as building brand recognition in mature online casino markets like NJ and Pennsylvania?
Per Hellberg: We like to think on opportunities rather than challenges. First of all, we don’t see New Jersey or Pennsylvania as very matured markets as when compared to Europe, US is a very young market. There’s a large revenue growth forecasted from these markets the coming years and in any market, a good product has all the potential to gain market share if you do things right.
From a branding perspective we’re not going to be entering the fight for traditional brand building channels such as TV or billboards with huge costs and wastage attached, but rather target players with intent through digital channels where we know we can cut through the noise in market. Casino players have different needs compared to a sport betting player allowing us to be very targeted with our offers to these players via digital performance-based marketing channels. Hence players who like online casino will know about us, others not.
PlayNJ: What can you tell us in terms of why NJ gamblers will want to give the PlayStar Casino app a try?
Per Hellberg: Because, compared to most brands in the US, this is not a “me too” product that acts as a complement to their sport betting offering. This is a product built from scratch for the online casino player to provide a personalized and engaging journey based on their individual needs. We’re not going for the masses but rather focus on providing online casino players a unique and personalized experience. Hence, while the market drives awareness, we drive preference.
PlayNJ: What about the game selection PlayStar is offering from the start?
Per Hellberg: Our strategy regarding content was pretty simple, we needed to match what is in the market, and we’re pleased to say we’re doing that from day one. We have every major games supplier onboard, enabling PlayStar to offer our players an amazing selection of games that they’re familiar with from day one.
And we will continue to build on this catalogue, as we’re very active in engaging new game suppliers coming into the market, to ensure our offering is up there with the best of them. On top of this we have some exclusive retention games and gamified promotions players can’t get anywhere else.
PlayNJ: What can you tell us about the slots and table games content?
Per Hellberg: PlayStar has an extensive portfolio of games which includes all the classic slots from top providers such as IGT, NetEnt, Light & Wonder and we’ll be keeping it fresh by adding new content and providers as and when they become available. With a full range of table games including standards and modernized variations on the classics, every player at PlayStar will find the table game that will suit their needs. Our Live Casino is already up and running with Roulette, Blackjack, Dreamcatcher, Baccarat and more.
Exclusive content is something we are working hard on securing and we hope to bring further news on that front soon.
PlayNJ: If a New Jersey online casino player asks ‘Who is PlayStar?’ how would you respond?
Per Hellberg: PlayStar is an online casino solely built for those who want to have a great, personalized, and engaging casino experience. PlayStar is the online casino that cares about YOU and YOUR needs. The online casino where YOU are the star of the show!
PlayNJ: Any update you can share regarding Pennsylvania launch plans?
Per Hellberg: We are progressing according to plan and are looking forward to launching into our second state in the US once all the regulatory processes have been completed.