PokerStars' sports betting brand BetStars has begun its march into new markets with the launch of a licensed Italian offering. 

BetStars.it is live in beta version with a limited number of markets, currently offering odds on six of the most popular sports, with additional markets to be added in the coming months, followed by in-play betting at a later date. 

The sportsbook product is available online and for mobile and tablet play, offering a seamless experience across the operator's key sports betting, casino and poker verticals, using a single wallet across the three. 

Launched in selected jurisdictions in December last year, the sportsbook, combined with Amaya's relatively new casino business, saw revenue leap to $60.1m in the first quarter of the year with 169,000 unique active sports bettors. 

"There’s huge crossover between poker consumers and sports betting fans and BetStars provides a safe, secure, convenient and trusted environment to place sports bets," Amaya vice president of corporate communications Eric Hollreiser said. 

"Italian sports fans find betting enhances their love of the game as they put their wits, strategy and judgment to the test.”

BetStars is focusing on football, Italy's most popular sport by far, and will offer odds on Europe's major leagues and exclusive promotions such as the free poker tournament Welcome BetStars Freeroll, which is open to all players that make a bet in the week from May 25th to 30th.

It will also offer a special promotion for this weekend's Champions League final, which takes place Saturday May 28th at Milan's San Siro Stadium, with first depositors offered a €20 bonus to bet on the match between Real Madrid and their city rivals Athletico Madrid.

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