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PokerStars makes German football move

Isle of Man-based online gaming firm PokerStars is branching out into a burgeoning new market by providing financial backing for a German football team.

The company is sponsoring a multi-purpose stadium in Lubeck and has purchased exclusive naming rights to the property in a three-year deal, with further options, for a reported €120,000 a year.

The 18,000-capacity stadium, home of German fourth-division side VfB Lubeck, will now have PokerStars.de at the start of its name, in a move seen by many as the first step towards a boom in the region's online gaming market.

The stadium is situated in the state of Schleswig-Holstein, which is opening its doors to online gambling, having already become the first German state to legalise and regulate online poker.

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