Ekmark takes on the role having served on the PlayStar board since September last year. In this time, he has supported PlayStar with its ongoing growth plans in the state of New Jersey.
He replaces Hellberg, who led PlayStar as CEO for two and a half years.
Prior to joining the PlayStar board, Ekmark was CEO of Internet Vikings for three years and was also on its board of directors.
Ekmark had a short spell as director of business development at William Hill, prior to which he spent over three and a half years at Jackpotjoy Group. While with Jackpotjoy, he served as chief commercial officer of Vera&John Casino.
He also worked at Kindred for more than seven and a half years. This included working in senior roles such as head of product operations.
Earlier in his career, Ekmark also worked for Maria Bingo, TeliaSonera and the Modern Times Group.
“I’m incredibly excited to be taking over the role of PlayStar CEO,” Ekmark said. “I would like to take the opportunity to extend my thanks to Per Hellberg for the amazing foundations he has put down for the company in New Jersey and the US in general.
“Having already overseen incredible growth in our first year of operation, I’m confident we as a team can use the extensive igaming and business management experience I’ve accumulated to help PlayStar cement its position in New Jersey and also expand into other regulated states.”
Glitnor Group invests in PlayStar
The appointment comes after PlayStar in July sold 37.5% of its business to Glitnor Group.
Neither details of the transaction, nor the timeframes involved, were disclosed by the parties. A joint statement revealed that the shareholding would be acquired “over time”.
At the time, Glitnor said it was seeking to help PlayStar reach “even greater heights” in New Jersey and beyond.
PlayStar CEO Hellberg added that Glitnor’s funding and support would help PlayStar go from strength to strength.
PlayStar, founded by chairman Joel Wikell, also drew a $15m equity investment from Meyer Global Management in December 2022. The deal was announced five months after its launch in New Jersey and two months after unveiling its casino app in the state.
The operator says that it exceeded key performance indicators in its opening months in New Jersey. This was attributed to a consumer-focused model.