The largest transaction in this story, if iGaming was completed last week when Canada’s Amaya Gaming Group bought the Rational Group, the parent company of the industry’s leading iPoker site, PokerStars for $ 4.9 billion. The transaction, which had been rumored in recent months, Amaya is the world’s most successful online poker site that has made the PokerStars next to the intellectual property and software, such a success. The deal also includes Full Tilt Poker, the Rational after bought the company after it forced to close after the “Black Friday” 15 April 2011 indictment by the U.S. Department of Justice.
As a result of the transaction, the former chairman Sheinberg Jesse, who was accused of serious crimes related to federal racketeering and money laundering, and his son, current President Mark Scheinberg, both step away from PokerStars. This action removes the obstacle to PokerStars, the legally licensed in states. While the company continues to Nevada because of the “bad actor” clause can be excluded in his right New Jersey consider licensing the company. The PokerStars application had been suspended by the state Department of Gaming Enforcement, which called for the sale of Mark Scheinberg and “certain PokerStars executives.”
David Baazov, CEO of Amaya, was quietly building an industrial powerhouse in recent years, but this acquisition will vault the company to the top shelf of the gaming provider.
“This is a transformational acquisition for Amaya, strengthen core B2B business with consumers online powerhouse that creates a scalable global platform for growth,” said Baazov. “Mark Scheinberg pioneer of the online poker industry, building a remarkable business and return the trust of millions of poker players by providing the best gaming experience in the industry, customer service and online security. Working with the experienced management team at Rational group, Amaya will that continue the tradition of excellence and accelerate growth in new markets and industries. ”
Sheinberg, who announced in a private e-mail to employees of the company that he will step down, and his father would be separate, for all Rational responsibility, talked about what it means his company.
“I’m incredibly proud of the business of Jesse, and I have built over the last 14 years, creating the world’s biggest poker company and leader in the iGaming space,” he said. “Our services and this transaction is a testament to the hard work, expertise and dedication of our employees, I am confident that it will continue to drive the company’s success.’s Values and integrity that have characterized these companies are deeply rooted in its DNA . Baazov David has a strong vision for the future of the Rational group, which will lead the company to new heights. ”
Amaya has been a software currently used on the online gaming legal jurisdiction of New Jersey. Therefore, the company is licensed there and believes that the process of introduction of PokerStars on the market should be seamless.
“Amaya believes that the transaction is entering PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker in regulated markets where Amaya already holds a footprint, in particular the United States to accelerate,” the company said in a press release. “In addition, Amaya offer an extensive selection of its online casino games to enhance the expectant Full Tilt Poker casino platform. Amaya intends to strongly support growth initiatives Rational group in new gaming industries, including casino, sports betting and Social -Gaming and new regions. ”
The purchase of PokerStars is a great range for the much smaller Amaya. The company will extend a $ 2100000000 credit line, and a senior secured second lien term loan in full by Amaya Consultants German Bank, Barclays and Macquarie Capital. Although the deal saddles Amaya with a significant debt load, the company is not worried about the repayment.
“Significant cash flow of the combined company should allow for rapid debt repayment and to help Amaya with sufficient liquidity and flexibility of current growth opportunities,” said Amaya press release.
The deal includes several live poker tours with the Rational operate, including the European Poker Tour PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, Latin American Poker Tour and the Asia Pacific Poker Tour, along with branded poker rooms in the casinos such as the Hippodrome in London and Casino Barcelona in Spain.
Chris Grove, editor of OnlinePokerReport.com, speculated that the deal could be a precursor to an interest of Caesars Entertainment to achieve the company or license the software.
Grove based his opinion on an existing relationship between Caesar and Amaya to (not to mention the purchase of slot machines Amaya subsidiary, Cadillac Jack) content for Caesars’ online casinos in New Jersey to deliver.
Caesars has also not happy with the WSOP platform in Nevada and New Jersey, even if it in both states has most of the market share, and the Caesars’ agreement with 888 to use this platform has a “shelf life” and the Caesars would try to update at the PokerStars or Full Tilt platforms. Grove says Caesars takes online gaming to work and could willing to make a deal.
As for licensing in New Jersey, where PokerStars has signed an agreement with Resorts Atlantic City, Division of Gaming Enforcement Director David Rebuck said Amaya participation is positive.
“The distribution is aware that the current New Jersey authorized Internet gaming provider Amaya Gaming Group, takes over the assets of the PokerStars” he said John Brennan of the Bergen Record. “Regulatory integrity is always crucial for the business sector, and we will review all aspects of this acquisition to ensure compliance with our high standards of regulation. We are also of this development and the enhanced capabilities it could promote offer for New Jersey Internet gaming industry. ”
A bill that would legalize the iPoker in California is a bit problematic. The “bad actor” clause in this bill would prohibit both operators and suppliers involved in the acceptance of bets from the United States after 2006, when the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act came into force. PokerStars is not eligible under this definition, and in contrast to Nevada, which imposed a five-year “goal”, the California ban is forever.