India looks set to be the next country to fall under the PokerStars spell. Canadian online gambling operator Amaya Inc. is in the process of finalising a business partnership that will see it take its online Poker brand to the Asian subcontinent later this year. CEO Rafi Ashkenazi said the Amaya had already received permission to operate in India, and now waited only for the partnership deal to be inked.
Ashkenazi said that India’s online Poker industry was growing fast due to the burgeoning popularity of smartphones and other mobile devices. This made the market exciting, and it has attracted the attention of local and foreign investors.
However, India is not the only country in the Montreal-based operator’s sights. The CEO added that the operator also had plans to expand into other Asian countries, as well as into the United States. According to Ashkenazi, expansion into Asia requires solid strategy and structure. The US, however, offers a very different playing field. Currently, online gambling is legal only in Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey. Several other states are currently reviewing online Poker legislation, which means further US expansion may be possible. Amaya took PokerStars to New Jersey in 2016; a move that was welcomed by players.
In related news, the operator’s shareholders approved changing the company’s name from Amaya Inc. to the Stars Group, as well as moving its headquarters from suburban Montreal to Toronto. The operator’s rebranding should be finalised by September. There has been some speculation that the rebranding may be an attempt to polish the operator’s reputation after former CEO David Baazov was investigated for insider trading by Quebec’s Autorité des marchés financiers.
The regulator alleged that Baazov passed on shares information before the operator’s 2014 $4.9 billion purchase of PokerStars and Full Tilt operator the Rational Group from Isai and Mark Scheinberg. The move made Amaya the world’s largest publicly listed operator. However, Ashkenazi insisted that the rebranding was based on the fact that PokerStars is the company’s most recognisable brand, rather than the ongoing investigation into Baazov.
Also known as Amaya Gaming, Amaya Inc. supplies various gaming solutions. Its offerings include online Poker and casino games, sports betting platforms, and software for slot machines and lotteries. The company has opened offices in Asia, Europe, and in North and South America, and is traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange.