Amaya Revenues Double in First Quarter as PokerStars Takes New Jersey  

May 17th, 2016 | by Brian Corlisse
Amaya revenues PokerStars David Baazov

Amaya revenues for January through March soared thanks largely to PokerStars’ continued customer base growth. (Image: beatthefish.com)

Amaya revealed on May 16 that revenues for the first quarter in 2016 have more than doubled compared to the same three months in 2015, and the key component to the Canadian gaming company’s rise is unsurprisingly PokerStars.

Net earnings for the three months ending March 31 totaled $55.5 million, a staggering increase of 138.5 percent on the previous year. Adjusted net earnings for the digital gaming conglomerate rang in at $85 million, a 26 percent jump.

Those figures translate into an adjusted net earnings per diluted share of $0.43, just the sort of performance Wall Street investors look for when investing in a growth stock.

“We continued to execute on our growth plans despite unexpected challenges,” Amaya Interim CEO Rafi Ashkenazi said in the financial filing.

Shares of Amaya on NASDAQ (AYA) jumped on the news, rewarding shareholders that stayed the course following the company’s scandalous headlines of late.

Challenges Remain

Many shareholders went running after Quebec’s Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) brought charges in March against David Baazov, the founder, CEO, and mastermind behind Amaya. Though Baazov has pleaded not guilty to five charges of “aiding with trades while in possession of privileged information,” the allegations levied by the province’s financial regulatory agency is nonetheless casting a dark cloud over the multibillion-dollar corporation.

Baazov is currently on a voluntary paid leave of absence. Ashkenazi celebrated Amaya’s performance in the midst of “management changes” and “ongoing strategic alternatives.”

The revenue boost was finally some much needed good news out of Amaya. In addition to the recent trading scandal alleged by the AMF, Amaya slashed its full-year 2015 guidance numbers in November by citing a strengthening dollar and delayed rollout in certain markets.

But Not For PokerStars

While things across the northern border remain uncertain, down south in New Jersey PokerStars is off to a blazing start. As PokerSites.com reported on May 15, PokerStars New Jersey has already topped the isolated iPoker market in the Garden State and become the dominant platform.

Worldwide, Amaya reached an important milestone during the quarter in passing 100 million total users. Amaya received 2.5 million new customer registrations in the three months to bring its total customer base to 102 million.

Of those 102 million members, Amaya defined 2.5 million as active real-money unique players, with 96 percent being generated through PokerStars.

“We attracted new customers to PokerStars, continued to introduce changes to improve the overall poker experience, expanded our online casino offering and continued to invest in our emerging online sportsbook,” Ashkenazi stated.

In addition to patting itself on the back with its strong earnings, Amaya also confirmed that its Special Committee, along with its financial advisor Barclays Capital Canada, is in continued talks with parties interested in potentially taking the public company back private.

One of the interested parties is, of course, Baazov who notified the Amaya Board of Directors in late January that he plans to make an offer for the entire company with a group of undisclosed investors.

With Amaya revenues up nearly 140 percent, any prospective buyout just got a lot more expensive.

 

 

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