Amaya Inc. is finally going to enter the United States, although not just yet with its PokerStars and Full Tilt online poker networks, but through Nasdaq, the second-largest stock exchange by market capitalization in the world.
The decision to apply to be listed on the New York-based exchange continues to show the company’s strong desire to have a larger, more respected presence in a country where the reputation of its chief product, PokerStars, was severely damaged on April 15, 2011, Internet poker’s so-called “Black Friday.”
Shares of Amaya will begin trading on Nasdaq June 8th under the ticker “AYA.”
Headquartered outside Montreal in Quebec, Canada, Amaya purchased both PokerStars and Full Tilt for $4.9 billion in June of 2014, and ever since the company has been dealing with the repercussions of the networks offering online poker to residents in America after Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006.
The criminal dealings by the two online card rooms has led to their labeling as “bad actors,” with many states considering iGaming legislation that includesÂ clauses to prevent previously dishonest operators.
Though PokerStars was born in Costa Rica, Rational Enterprises, its original owner, moved to the Isle of Man for its zero percent corporate tax rate.
Now based in Canada with gambling licenses in the United Kingdom and 100 other jurisdictions worldwide, Amaya is finally giving PokerStars another presence in the United States.
“Our listing on the Nasdaq is an important milestone for Amaya,” David Baazov, chief executive officer said in a statement. “We anticipate that the Nasdaq listing will provide greater visibility and better liquidity for our stock.”Â
Currently traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange, the stock has been one of the hottest shares since last June. In fact, the price is up roughly 250 percent over the last 12 months.
Its first-quarter revenues in 2015 came in at $283.5 million, a 2,549 percent increase thanks to its acquiring of the two poker giants.
And listing on Nasdaq should calm the fears of American investors uncertain about capitalizing on a company embedded with so much controversy.
For public stock exchanges, it’s all about reputation. Exchanges are only as good as the companies they offer, which is why obtaining Nasdaq approval, arguably the most important exchange in the world behind only the New York Stock Exchange, is so vital.
Amaya Inc. is joining companies like tech leaders Apple, Google, and Facebook, and gaming cohorts Caesars Interactive and Wynn Resorts. Aligning with companies with such reputations should only improve its own standing, at least that’s what Amaya is hoping.
With PokerStars expected to enter the US market through New Jersey in the coming months and additional states considering online gambling bills, including propositions in Pennsylvania and California free of any “bad actor” language, Amaya is banking on the expansion of online gambling stateside.
Attracting new investors on Nasdaq might take time due to the uncertainty of the industry, but the listing will surely give more street cred to the online gaming corporation.