Amaya Gaming to Buy PokerStars and FullTilt

Amaya Gaming from Montreal Canada is involved in one of the largest and possibly high stakes business deals in the history of online gambling. PokerStars the worlds biggest online poker company has agreed to sell itself to Amaya Gaming for 4.9 Billion. This deal is being backed by Blackstones credit division, GSO Capital Partners, which will buy 675 million in convertible preferred shares and other securities. Deutsche Bank, Barclays and Macquarie Capital will provide 2.9 Billion in credit facilities and other financing.

Israeli born Canadian Isai Scheinberg a former computer programmer founded PYR software in Toronto and started building PokerStars. This daring venture captured the online gambling market during the poker boom in the early 2000’s propelling Pokerstars into the largest online gambling company on the planet. There was one problem, the US Justice Department had taken the position that online poker violated US Law citing the Wire Act. Even with the US Government Justice Department pursuing online gambling, Pokerstars continued to do business with US players. Pokerstars quickly dominated the US market and in 2008 president George Bush signed the UIGEA which sent the completion fleeing they owned the space. In 2011 in Manhattan Prosecutors launched a massive crackdown against online poker in the US indicting Scheinberg and suing Pokerstars, shutting down operations in the US. In 2012 Pokerstars struck at 731 million dollar settlement with federal prosecutors. Scheinberg still remains under indictment and has not gone to the US to face charges.

The Scheinbergs will not remain with the PokerStars brand in any capacity after the deal closes. Amaya said it believes the transaction will expedite the entry of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker into the regulated markets in which Amaya already holds a footprint, particularily the USA.

June 13, 2014: posted in Gambling News No Comments

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