It’s rare that a week passes without Amaya or CEO David Baazov being in the headlines. But the last week was a particularly big news week for company and the man dubbed the ‘King of Online Gambling’ by Forbes.
The good news…
After a long absence that began with the Black Friday shutdown back in 2011, the Amaya owned Pokerstars brand is once again back up and running in the US. On Monday March 21 Pokerstars began full operations in New Jersey after a 5 day test period got the thumbs up from the local regulators.
Pokerstarsnj.com is a partnership between Pokerstars (who provide the brand and technology) and Resorts Casino Hotel (who have the NJ license) available to New Jersey locals only. They won’t find any of the live tables available at Pokerstars.com by the way. Baby steps.
Amaya controversially won approval from NJ’sDivision of Gaming Enforcement late last year, to operate both the Pokerstars and FullTilt brands in that state.
The old news…
Baazov is still planning on a private equity buyout of Amaya. In February he announced an offer to buy all issued shares for $2.8 billion – a significant premium (40%) to the then traded value of Amaya, but considerably less than the $4.9 billion that was paid (by Amaya) for the Pokerstars and FullTilt brands in 2014.
The bad news…
As soon as Baazov made his bombshell buyout announcement, Amaya’s share price reversed a year long downward trend and went through the roof.
Now the Quebec securities regulator has filed insider trading charges against Baazov and a few of his associates. Five charges against Baazov including, “aiding with trades while in possession of privileged information” while friends Benjamin Ahdoot and Yoel Altman are alleged to have traded while in possession of “privileged information”.
Of course all allegations have been denied by the accused.
Just another week for the King of Online Gambling.