Friday June 13,2014 : POKERSTARS U.S. DEAL WITH RESORTS CASINO TO BE REVIVED
Amaya plans an early start on entry to the New Jersey online gambling market.
During a conference call Friday on his company';s $4.9 billion acquisition of The Rational Group , Amaya Gaming CEO David Baazov said he regards reviving the Pokerstars deal with New Jersey's Resorts Casino as a priority.
The deal has been on the back burner since the New Jersey regulators put the application on hold for two years pending infrastructural changes at Pokerstars.
Baazov said that the acquisition agreement should satisfy the regulator, and expressed confidence that Pokerstars will be acceptable for regulated and licensed operations in the US online poker market, initially in partnership with Resorts.
He noted that his company has a successful record of working with North American regulatory bodies, which would be employed in seeking legitimacy for Pokerstars.
In related news, Warwick Bartlett, CEO of Global Betting & Gaming Consultants, commented on the Amaya-Rational deal Friday, saying the agreement was unexpected and would be felt for some time in the online gambling industry.
He added that Pokerstars was a market leader and a highly efficient company, and that its acquisition by Amaya would, if approved by shareholders, make that company one of the biggest gambling enterprises in the world.
"The success of Amaya will now depend on three things. First is whether it can manage Pokerstars as well as the founders Mark and Isai Scheinberg. The father and son team were driven to make PokerStars the number one company, will that same drive now exist at Amaya and the PokerStars team?
"If it does then there is further trouble in store for the present incumbents in the USA namely 888 and Bwin Party who are presently market leaders in New Jersey. Add Pokerstars to the mix and you can see that market share will be lost by both in what has been a disappointing market so far.
"The second big question concerns whether Pokerstars under the Amaya umbrella will win licenses in the USA. Much depends on them doing so to account for such a high purchase price. They will of course have to overcome bad actor clauses that most states are including in their forthcoming legalization. So it is not going to be easy, but nothing is in the new world of e-gaming.
"Finally Amaya is a quoted company and PokerStars has historically traded in countries that the industry calls ‘grey’ markets. These are jurisdictions where there is no law allowing Internet gambling but no law forbidding it. Will Amaya close those markets down?
"It isn’t going to be easy. For Pokerstars the big win is access to the USA and this is possibly the only route. For every buyer there is a seller and the sellers in this case have been proven to be very astute in the past.