A scandal that saw former CEO David Baazov step down appears to have left Amaya Gaming red-faced enough to seek a name change and new headquarters. The proposed changes have still to be approved by its shareholders. The company that owns the PokerStars and other brands intends to relocate from its current offices in Montreal to Toronto, and to change its name to the Stars Group Inc. However, before it can do any of that, it first needs to appoint a new chief financial officer to replace the incumbent who will soon retire.
Amaya Gaming has faced trying conditions since the Baazov scandal. The former CEO’s replacement, Rafi Ashkenazi, hopes that the planned changes will be a catalyst for the company’s growth and evolution, and that it will lead to a better and brighter future. Despite the trying conditions, Ashkenazi said the past year has not all been bad news. The CEO said that the company recognises the brand loyalty players have shown. Ashkenazi has not had an easy job as the gaming company’s chief executive. His most serious task since taking on the role has been to revitalise its management team and to deal with debt. The proposed change of name and HQ is the most recent in a string of changes instituted since Baazov stepped down. One of its biggest previous changes came earlier this year, when the company altered its gaming offering focus. Previously, 75 per cent of the company’s revenue was driven by its online Poker offerings. This year saw that change. Now only 69 per cent of its revenue is being driven by Poker. Conversely, its online casino game and sports betting offerings went from generating a little over 20 per cent of its revenue to generating 27 per cent of its revenue.
Amaya Gaming was founded by Baazov in Montreal in 2004, and is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. In 2014, the company acquired Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars’ parent company from previous owners Mark and Isai Scheinberg. The acquisition led to Amaya becoming the world’s biggest listed online Poker company. In addition to online Poker, the company also offers casino games, sports betting, and lottery software, as well as land-based casino games. A fraud scandal involved Baazov erupted in March 2016. He resigned in August that year, and later initiated a failed attempt, along with a group of investors, to buy the company.