Amaya to establish dual listing in London or New York

By Emma Rumney
Supplier Amaya Gaming Group will create a secondary listing in either London or New York, the firm’s CEO has told The Sunday Times.

For the past four years Amaya has held a primary listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange with a market cap of $2bn. The dual listing could see Amaya traded on one of the New York Stock exchanges, but the London Stock Exchange is the likely target given the UK’s central position in the online gambling world.

“There will be a dual listing,” confirmed Amaya CEO and chairman David Baazov.

The move follows the firm’s blockbusteracquisition of the Oldford Group - the company that owned the Rational Group and in turn some of the most popular online poker sites such as PokerStars and Full Tilt - for $4.9bn, giving investors the chance to own a piece of the biggest online poker room in the world through publicly-listed Amaya. Plans to create a dual listing give investors further reason to get on board with the company.

The formerly private-owned PokerStars and Full Tilt hold two thirds of the online poker market outside the US and around 86m users.

The deal, which is yet to be finalised as it waits to be signed off by shareholders, demonstrates 10-year-old Amaya’s determination to expand its presence and become a more dominant force in the i-gaming market.

The new ownership is also expected to help the poker sites re-establish in the US where they are often blocked by regulators and ‘bad actor’ clauses which prevent certain companies from participating in a regulated market.

Isai Scheinberg, the founder of PokerStars, and 10 other online gambling executives were indicted three years ago on charges of conspiring to break the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which prohibits banks and other institutions from accepting payments for illegal online gambling.

While Scheinberg denies any wrongdoing and is contesting the charges against him, it’s thought his resignation from the company and its subsidiaries and the sale of his and his son’s stock as part of the Amaya takeover will wipe the slate clean for PokerStars.

While this will improve the perception of PokerStars in the US, Amaya will still face hefty opposition from a variety of sources to its plans to include the American market in its wider expansion strategy.

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