Amaya CEO Hints At US Return Of Full Tilt Poker And PokerStars
A few short weeks after completing their acquisition of Rational Group, Amaya CEO David Baazov discusses expansion plans and hints at the US return of Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars.
On the 14th of August, during a conference call to discuss Amaya Gaming’s financial results for the second quarter of the year, Amaya CEO David Baazov explained that the acquisition of the Rational Group would in no way change how poker players around the world would play on Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars websites.
During the conference, Baazov said: “We are strongly committed to Rational maintaining this focus in order for the game experience to remain as enjoyable and exciting as ever for online poker players”.
He then went on to mention the recent acquisition: “We’re very excited with the progress of Amaya during the quarter. The company has been transformed through its acquisition of the Rational Group , which we announced during the quarter and which was completed on August 1”
“Led by its highly experienced management team, Rational Group provides Amaya with a strong platform for growth in revenues and profitability and will significantly accretive our earnings”
The aforementioned earnings are not thought to come exclusively from the online poker market. As was already explained during one of the shareholders meetings held before the completed acquisition of the Rational Group. Baazov went on to explain that he firmly believes the work done so far by the likes of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker would help to widen its revenue by the exploration of new markets, the return to the US of the two poker sites, would be just one of them.
Baazov continued with a clear hint at the return to the regulated US market: “the worldwide recognition of the PokerStars and Full Tilt brands, bolstered by being the largest producer of live poker tours and events across the globe and producer of televised and online poker programming, also provides Rational with and enormous opportunity to take advantage of adjacency opportunities in online casino and sportsbook, in jurisdictions where they can be offered – while growing in new geographies”.
He then went on to explain, and reassure, that the plan to explore the various online gambling and sports betting markets would not take the focus away from further developing the poker industry which will stay the core business of both websites. “Amaya is determined that they not provide any disruption to the core poker offerings and that the new vertical offerings are robust and enjoyable as Rational’s online poker”.
The exploration Baazov mentioned included adding casino games to the PokerStars website for players in Spain and Italy, even though casino games were already part of the offerings at FullTilt, Amaya has plans to up the ante and add a casino twist to Amaya’s flagship poker sites. “The company has launched casino games on Full Tilt in 2014 through its downloadable poker client. The results, this far, have been encouraging, though the exposure to the percentage of Rational’s player base is still quite low. There has not been a major marketing push behind it as yet”.
Rumours Fuelled by REEL Securing Licenses
The first rumours of the new casino offerings to the PokerStars websites were fuelled when the company’s Spanish subsidiary REEL Spain, Plc managed to secure licenses for Spain’s regulated market to offer Roulette and Blackjack and on the 1st of July, Rational applied for an online casino operating license in Italy.
Even if the timelines are not completely clear, Baazov, during the conference call, hinted at imminent changes and went on to explain that the company expected imminent growth during 2014 with initiates in the online casino market and that: “the company continues to develop its technology platforms up to its high standards and works with various regulators to certify its solution”.
Baazov’s conference call also touched on the issue of online gambling regulation and went on to explain that both the Rational Group and its parent company, Amaya, support the regulation of both online poker and online gaming. “We are committed to working with regulators to create responsible and tax-efficient means to regulate within their jurisdictions”.
Regulated markets, according to Amaya, will be able to provide a series of very important benefits in terms of the protection of the consumers as well as the overall health of the market and legitimacy of the industry. He again went on to confirm the return of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker to the US market , even if he had no idea when it would be as, he said: “we do not have a crystal ball on timing”.
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