PokerStars released a limited beta launch of PokerStars.net for Facebook, considered to be an extension of its free-play dot.net site on the social media platform. Since it is currently in beta mode, it cannot yet be accessed through the App Store but will soon be available to everyone.
A Facebook offering would place two very important client categories within their grasp:
The Underage Market: By offering minors a legal alternative to real-money online poker, PokerStars will capture a segment which they currently cannot legally serve and prep those players for when they come of legal gambling age. By using software that is very close to their real-money poker platform and a series of promotions that could run hand in hand with PokerStars.com such as prizes and entries to live events for those legal to play at the casinos, those players will be easier to convert to real-money gambling once they come of age. Many poker players are known to remain loyal to the software they first played on.
The U.S. Market: Prior to shutting down in the United States in the wake of Black Friday, PokerStars and Full Tilt were the dominant forces in online poker. Combined, the two entities are sitting on a player database in the tens of millions of gamblers. They have enough data to know their playing and spending habits, and of course possess their complete contact information making it easy to be contacted. Since there is no other legal poker alternative in the U.S., with a social platform, PokerStars can attempt to re-monetize those players once again and ensure the name PokerStars stays fresh in their minds until such time that they can offer legal real money poker in the U.S..
While Zynga have announced they will offer real-money gambling to their members, they have taken too long to act and could very well have lost too much ground as competitors enter the social gambling space and continue to eat away at their once dominant market share.