The Stars Rewards programme has only been live since July 2017, but has allowed the operator to expand beyond its VIP programme for poker players, allowing it to cover all verticals.

Already, 85 per cent of its active players have opted into the programme.

Considering its wild success it's easy to forget that launching the Stars Rewards programme was something of a gamble for The Stars Group. Its original poker-focused programme, where players were rewarded for the volume of poker play, was particularly popular among skilled players who may have been turned off by the new, softer offering.

The fact that the operator has managed to balance retaining these players, as well as attracting new recreational customers, is an impressive feat. By awarding players chests – similar to loot boxes in video games – it is bringing in reward mechanics popular among a larger audience.

To date, industry loyalty programmes have mainly been a way to reward high spending players, but Stars Rewards is using it – as it should be – as a retention tool. It was a calculated risk, but it has paid off beautifully. 

HIGHLY COMMENDED: VIDEOSLOTS – BATTLE OF SLOTS

 

GIA 2018 Winners:

Sports betting operator of the year - Sky Betting & Gaming
Poker operator of the year - PokerStars
Bingo operator of the year - Stride Gaming
Casino operator of the year - PokerStars Casino
Social casino operator of the year - Aristocrat Leisure
Lottery operator of the year - La Française des Jeux
One to watch – operator award - VideoSlots
eSports operator of the year - Pinnacle
Marketing campaign of the year - LeoVegas - Hitta.se
Social casino supplier of the year - Scientific Games
Sports betting supplier of the year - SBTech
Poker supplier of the year - Playtech
Bingo supplier of the year - Playtech
Marketing solutions provider of the year - Beehive 
Casino supplier of the year - NetEnt
Game of the year - Playtech - Age of the Gods
Supplier innovation award - Scientific Games OneVoice
Lottery supplier of the year - Scientific Games
One to watch – supplier award - Red Tiger Gaming
eSports supplier of the year - Betgenius
Responsible gambling operator of the year - NO ONE 

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