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Poker Business: Forbes Features Amaya CEO

David Baazov Placed $4.9 Billion Bet On PokerStars This Past Summer


David BaazovThis month’s issue of Forbes has a lengthy profile of David Baazov, who spearheaded Amaya Gaming Group’s acquisition of PokerStars and Full Tilt this summer for $4.9 billion.

Thanks to persistence and creativity, he got financial backing for his firm, which was doing around $150 million in annual sales. Rational Group, the parent of PokerStars and Full Tilt, was doing $1.1 billion worth of business each year.

According to the report, Baazov became more and more impressed with the company he was eyeing to acquire the further along in the negotiations he went. Here’s an excerpt:

In December 2013 Baazov returned to the Isle of Man, where PokerStars had prepared a management presentation that included, finally, PokerStars’ financial figures and customer data. PokerStars had developed a virtual stranglehold on the online poker market, with 89 million registered users, some 5 million of whom are active monthly. And since its servers seamlessly made money, raking a small cut of each digitally dealt pot, it was a literal cash machine, making $417 million annually on $1.13 billion in revenues.

“Everybody walked away so impressed,” Baazov explained to Forbes. “We knocked off a lot of the misconceptions–it was a phenomenally well-run company."

Despite Amaya’s PokerStars currently having trouble gaining re-entry into the fledgling American online gaming market—the largest of its kind in the world—he is optimistic about Amaya’s growth opportunities going forward. He better be after betting $4.9 billion.

More from Forbes:

The global online gambling industry will reach $38.7 billion this year, according to H2 Gambling Capital–with poker making up only about 10% of the total. PokerStars recently launched casino games in Spain and within weeks grabbed double-digit market share. Full Tilt has now launched casino games in much of the world, and 30% of its eligible poker players have already given those games a try. Sports betting is next, and Baazov expects it to launch in certain markets by March 2015. His securities filings suggest he wants to eventually offer social gaming, while fantasy sports seems like a natural extension.

Changes to PokerStars haven’t been met without some criticism. Some within the poker community have been unhappy about rake increases recently announced by the company, and others have expressed concern about casino games being brought to the platform.



over 7 years ago

PokerStars is not even a poker company anymore. It's a great company generating an amazing cash flow but it does not care about poker anymore.

This quote from the article proves that: “My goal is that all of our gaming revenue is sub–50% of the company’s revenue,” says Baazov. “We are a consumer–tech–focused company. We didn’t buy Rational because of gambling; we wanted it badly because it had 89 million consumers."

They know online poker is dead in America and they will never we welcomed back.

Once they extract as much as they can from the active player pool with other crap, Blackstone et/all will sell shares, profit, abandoned the company and poker's once leading site will disappear as even being relevant to the poker community.

Too bad you cannot short this turd as it will melt in 2017.