One of the most controversial and intriguing business stories in the history of gambling industry took place when a blockbuster deal went down last Thursday, as Amaya Gaming Group acquires PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and the entire Rational Group and Oldford’s assets for astounding $4.9 billion. So we ask our readers, “Who got the better of the Amaya-Stars deal? The Scheibergs or David Baazov?”
Leading the votes with 67 percent is the Scheinbergs (Founder Isai Scheinberg and his son CEO Mark Scheinberg of PokerStars.com) and the remaining 33 percent voted David Baazov, Chairman and CEO of Amaya Gaming Group Inc.
PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker are operated by Isle of Man-based Rational Group Ltd. The company, with more than 1,700 employees, has 85 million registered players worldwide and which has dealt more than 100 billion poker hands since launching 14 years ago. However the U.S. Department of Justice had taken the position that the online-poker company violated U.S. law, particularly the Wire Act., but still continued to operate in the U.S. In 2012, PokerStars agreed to pay $731 million to settle without admitting wrongdoing.
With Amaya’s expansive footprint in regulated markets in the United States, Canada and Europe through the provision of its online, land-based and lottery solutions to licensed commercial, tribal and charitable gaming operations as well as government lotteries and gaming control agencies,Stars’ entry into the United States is expected to be eased, which had been under a cloud due to legal problems facing Isai Scheinberg, who remains under the accusation of bank fraud, money laundering and illegal gambling along with 10 other online-gambling executives. Therefore, the deal was rumored to be an act of clearing the way for the Stars brand to return to regulated market—which is a great opportunity for the growth of poker in the U.S.
The transaction, however, would transform Amaya to becoming the world’s largest publicly-traded online-gaming company. Amaya’s gaming products and services including casino, sportsbooks, platform, lotteries and slot machines combined with online poker—a one-stop shop for gaming.
So whether an acquisition or a well-played act, it is certainly a win-win business agreement between the Scheinbergs and Baazov.
For next week’s polls, as the 2014 FIFA World Cup heads into the final stages of group play, we’ve already been given a sense of how things may turn out in the knockout stages. Some teams are where they should be, others are not, which is why we decide to ask our readers, “Who has been has been the biggest disappointment at the World Cup?” Check back next week to see what our readers have to say.