Amaya buys Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars for $4.9B

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Could Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars do the unthinkable and be headed back into the mainstream U.S. online poker market? Many think so, now that Amaya Gaming has bought the two behemoths in an unprecedented deal worth $4.9 billion. Here’s a statement included in a Stars news release after the purchase:

“Amaya believes the transaction will expedite the entry of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker into regulated markets in which Amaya already holds a footprint, particularly the U.S. Additionally, Amaya will provide an extensive selection of its online casino games to expand the Full Tilt Poker casino platform. Amaya intends to strongly support Rational Group’s growth initiatives in new gaming verticals, including casino, sports book and social gaming, and new geographies.”
John Pappas, executive director of the Poker Players Alliance, said on the PPA website that this is good news.

“Amaya’s purchase of PokerStars is positive news for poker players and our game. Only time will tell how it will truly impact the poker landscape, but I am optimistic about the future. … I think Amaya is the right partner for PokerStars. They have a good track record and are genuinely committed to the consumer experience. Amaya holds dozens of licenses and certifications worldwide, most notably in New Jersey. This is significant as it would appear to clear the way for the PokerStars brand, under the ownership of Amaya, to be available to New Jersey poker players. If this does happen, it could help the state close the gap on the lofty revenue projections made. We hear from PPA members, not just in New Jersey, but all over the country asking when they can play on PokerStars again. Well, today, we are closer to that becoming a reality.”

CALIFORNIA: In one of my recent articles, I reported 13 of the state’s Indian Tribes have joined on the issue of passing legislation for online poker. Well, now there are 25 California cardrooms that have joined forces, asking online legislation to be passed as well. There are some differences in what they want and what the tribes want, but it’s believed by insiders that these differences will be worked out and will not be a hindrance to putting the bill up for a vote. The Legislature’s current session ends Aug. 31, giving only a month for a bill to get on the docket and be debated and put to a vote.

The most debatable issue at hand is the “Bad Actor” clause and whether it should remain or be changed, and should the state allow PokerStars and Full Tilt to be licensed since they have been bought by the Amaya Gaming Group, which has no previous “bad acting” in its history.

— Email Joel Gatlin at editor@anteupmagazine.com.