Amaya Reports Strong Earnings, Says PokerStars Will Enter New Jersey In Fall

March 31st, 2015 | by Kaycee James
Amaya PokerStars revenues New Jersey

David Baazov says Amaya and PokerStars will soon be entering the worlds of sports betting and daily fantasy sports. (Image: SBC News)

Amaya made a variety of announcements during an earnings call Tuesday morning, covering topics ranging from the introduction of sports betting to their poker products to when PokerStars is likely to arrive in the state of New Jersey.

Most of all, though, Amaya was happy to report that they brought in record revenues in the fourth quarter of 2014, revenues that were only possible after the acquisition of the Rational Group, including both PokerStars and Full Tilt.

“We completed our transformation into an online consumer technology leader in 2014 with the successful integration of PokerStars and Full Tilt into Amaya,” said Amaya Chairman and CEO David Baazov in a statement.

“The strength and vitality of the platforms supported strong growth and innovation, highlighted by the launch of Spin & Go’s on PokerStars, and delivered strong customer growth, with more than two million new customers registered during the fourth quarter.”

Revenues Explode Following PokerStars Purchase

It’s hard to say how successful Amaya’s takeover has been, since comparing their revenues after buying PokerStars to those before the acquisition is a bit like comparing apples to oranges.

But the numbers do show just how much having the former Rational Group brands means to the company. In Q4 2013, Amaya brought in revenues of C$37 million ($29.2 million) and earnings of C$5 million ($3.94 million).

After PokerStars? In Q4 2014, revenues were up to C$369 million ($291 million) and earnings rose to C$86 million ($67.9 million). That’s the kind of growth Amaya was banking on when they paid $4.9 billion to take over the Rational Group last year.

Sports Betting to Roll Out Soon, Daily Fantasy Games to Follow?

But Tuesday’s announcements were about a lot more than just earnings. PokerStars has previously talked about entering the world of sports betting, and Baazov said that customers can expect to see that option integrated into their poker products soon.

“We anticipate the launch of sports betting in certain markets in the coming days with an expansion across the network to take place through the first half of 2015,” Baazov said.

“Going forward, Amaya intends to acquire new customers and gain online gaming market share through the continued expansion of the B2C business in other verticals, including sports betting, casino, social gaming and daily fantasy sports, which we expect will supplement our current growth plans for our core poker business.”

Perhaps the most surprising part of that announcement is Amaya’s interest in entering the world of daily fantasy sports (DFS). Baazov expanded on PokerStars’ interest in DFS in Tuesday’s earnings call, saying that the company hopes to have a product up and running sooner rather than later.

“We expect to provide more details on this strategy in the second half of 2015 but see a clear cross over from poker and daily fantasy sports,” Baazov said. “The goal is to be up before the NFL season starts.”

New Jersey Return Targeted for Third Quarter

For American poker players, however, the biggest question on their minds about PokerStars is when the company will be returning to the United States.

An imminent return to New Jersey has been expected ever since the Amaya takeover, and while estimates have come in from lawmakers before, Baazov gave the first indication of when Amaya believes they’ll be approved for a license in the state on Tuesday.

“As it relates to New Jersey I would say that we feel that this is coming,” Baazov said in response to a question on the earnings call. “We would expect to receive and launch in the next quarter.”

According to Online Poker Report, it has since been confirmed that Baazov was talking about a third quarter launch, meaning that Amaya believes PokerStars should be up and running in New Jersey by the fall.


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