The Stars Group signs a deal with Chinese hotel, casino and entertainment group, IEC to expand its Asian ventures. The Stars Group intends to host a series of live events and run poker rooms in selected Asian countries leveraging the partnership. The news followed after the agreement between PokerStars and City of Dreams casino in Macau ended.

The leading Canadian brand, PokerStars, has an impressive presence across 17 locations already. The IEC-PokerStars collaboration will pave way for the latter to reach the Asian market comprising over 4.4 billion players. The alliance might be the biggest breakthrough for PokerStars in the live Asian poker circuit.

The agreement

IEC’s subsidiary concern Lucky Genius Ltd. has entered into a formal agreement with The Stars Group. As per the agreement, IEC will use brand name ‘Red Spade’ to operate PokerStars live events and poker rooms.

The Stars Group released an official statement on the partnership. “The Stars Group has entered into an agreement with Hong Kong-based International Entertainment Corporation to license the PokerStars brand for land-based live events and poker rooms across Asia. IEC, a publicly listed company, will hold the sole and exclusive rights to run PokerStars branded events in certain Asian countries as mutually agreed by The Stars Group and IEC, which will be operated through a subsidiary.”

The statement, however, does not clarify the number of tournaments and poker rooms both the brands will be operating together.

The IEC also filed an official statement at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. “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.

With recent ban on online poker by Chinese Ministry of Culture, PokerStars was finding it less profitable to remain associated with COD. If things go well, the new association may prove beneficial for the gaming giant.

Owned by professional poker, and hotelier, Stanley Choi, IEC has also ventured into the English Football League. It is one of the major shareholders in the EFL Championship side Wigan Athletic. Taking a plunge into the poker industry probably confirms its strong position in the sports market.

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