Amaya Planning to Become “Stars Group” & Move to Toronto

Amaya Gaming has announced plans to change their name to “The Stars Group Inc.” The name change is designed to better reflect their chief asset, PokerStars, and to distance themselves from embattled former CEO, David Baazov.

Another big change involves Amaya moving from Montreal to Toronto, which makes sense because the latter is a bigger metropolitan area.

Amaya made the announcements during a Q1 financial report. They also discussed how revenue was $317.3 million, which is up 10 percent from last year’s first quarter.

Another revelation from the meeting is that online poker makes up just 69 percent of Amaya’s revenue. Given that this is 6 percent less than last year, it shows that the company is achieving their goal of being less reliant on poker.

Over the past few years, Amaya has rolled out BetStars and Stars Casino to become an all-around gaming site.

“We continued our momentum in the first quarter as we execute on our strategy and reinforce the foundation for sustainable and diversified revenue growth, including through the strengthening of our core management team and operations,” said Amaya CEO Rafi Ashkenazi.

Here are a few other notable points from the meeting:

  • Adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortization) increased by 22.3 percent, to $151 million.
  • Net earnings increased by 18.5 percent, to $65.8 million.
  • Company shareholders must approve the name change to Stars Group Inc.
  • The move to Toronto is TBD.
  • Ashkenazi said that the company needs a new CFO because Daniel Sebag will be leaving the company.

david-baazov-amayaBaazov founded Amaya in 2004, then led an effort to purchase PokerStars for $4.9 billion in 2014. But he stepped down from his CEO position last year amid insider trading allegations.

Baazov is accused of leaking information to friends and family about Amaya’s purchase of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, allowing them to profit from insider trading.

Troubles continue for the former Amaya headman because he’s also accused of making an illegal foreign political donation to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The FBI alleges that Baazov made the donation to help make online poker legalization more attractive to Cuomo.

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