Online Gambling Giant Amaya Moves On From Baazov Past with Name Change

Just as some women change their hair look to show they have moved on from a bad relationship, Canadian gambling giant Amaya Inc. is set to change its name and relocate corporate headquarters to leave the past in the past.

Amaya reported a 10% increase in its quarterly revenue to $317.3 million. Real-money online poker was once again the leading source of revenue, representing a 68.9% share of the bulk. An important highlight in Amaya’s review of the past quarter was the fact that online casino and betting revenue accounted for a larger portion of the whole when compared to the same three months in 2016. Amaya’s non-poker offering comprised 27.3% of quarterly revenue.

Since acquired in 2014, PokerStars has turned into the Canadian company’s leading business. However, due to stalled online poker progress and the exponential growth of online casino and betting offering has experienced over the past several years, Amaya diverted its course to include the casino and betting verticals to its operations.

The move has so far proved to be a positive one for the company, but it is yet to be seen whether it will be able to expand its footprint in the competitive environment it entered only a year ago.

As mentioned above, Amaya is set to undergo significant corporate changes in the next few months. Following the success of its PokerStars brand and the launch of its BetStars brand, the gambling group will rebrand to The Stars Group Inc.

The change of name, accompanied by the relocation of headquarters to Toronto, will open a new chapter in Amaya’s development, one without its founder and former CEO David Baazov. Mr. Baazov’s name was involved in a hefty insider trading scandal, after the Autorité des marchés financiers, the Québec province securities regulator, had dug out evidence of him communicating privileged information about Amaya.

The matter was unveiled last spring and the name of the Canadian gambling company has ever since appeared on multiple occasions in relation to Mr. Baazov’s insider dealing prosecution. The former Amaya Chief left all his executive roles at the company last year to focus his attention on the charges, to which he pleaded not guilty.

Here it is also important to note that it was last year again when Mr. Baazov announced that he intended to buy the Canadian operator and take it private. An offer was made in November, but was quickly canceled due to lack of financial backing.

Although Amaya’s founding father has been demonized heavily over the past year or so, we should not forget that it was his persuasiveness that brought the PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker brands under the Canadian company’s roof. In 2014, Mr. Baazov did what no one else had managed to do before – to convince major private equity firm Blackstone Group to invest $1 billion in the proposed acquisition of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker parent The Rational Group.

Eventually, the businessman closed a $4.9-billion transaction, the largest in history of online gambling.

Changing its corporate name will distance Amaya from its past and will prevent the company from having its name constantly popping up in court papers related to Mr. Baazov’s insider trading case. And keeping as clear reputation as possible may help the operator’s PokerStars brand eventually fulfill its long-time goal to return to the US gambling market after its post-Black Friday banishment from the country.

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