PokerStars has been allowed into the U.S.! Not yet for online poker and gambling, that will supposedly come later this year – but for trading on the U.S.-based Nasdaq Stock Market.
From Toronto to Nasdaq
Amaya has been trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange as “AYA” and will be recognized by the same symbol on Nasdaq next month. The Nasdaq listing was applied for in March and was greenlighted despite an investigation by Quebec’s Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF)over possible trading inconsistencies that is apparently ongoing.
Amaya’s stock price rose substantially before news broke regarding the $4.9 billion acquisition of PokerStars and Full Tilt from the Rational Group last year, which led to the investigation. The company firmly denies any insider trading occurred and obviously passed the scrutiny of Nasdaq watchdogs in being granted trading approval. You can bet that Amaya was thoroughly investigated before receiving the Nasdaq rubber stamp.
“Our listing on Nasdaq is an important milestone for Amaya and a testament to the tremendous progress we have made over our five years as a public company,” Amaya CEO David Baazov said. “We anticipate that the Nasdaq listing will provide greater visibility and better liquidity for our stock and help broaden our shareholder base.”
Amaya is the largest publicly-traded igaming company in the world and is aiming to extend its reach even further. Negotiations to acquire London-based Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment have taken place and Amaya reportedly remains a finalist among several potential suitors.
Nasdaq’s corporate headquarters are in New York, although companies traded on the market are located in countries throughout the globe. Amaya will be listed in the Nasdaq Global Select Market, described by Amaya reps as a “top-tier trading platform” that accepts only the finest companies that have achieved the “highest of quantitative and qualitative listing standards, related to, among other things, financial condition, liquidity and corporate governance practices.”
No Wrongdoing Claimed
The insider trading probe brought about by the PokerStars purchase and share price surge prior to the announced acquisition resulted in the execution of search warrants on Amaya and other companies by the AMF. Amaya apparently conducted its own investigation and “found no evidence of any violation of Canadian securities laws or regulations including tipping and insider trading” by anyone within the company.
PokerStars remains the most popular poker site worldwide while attempting to shrug off the “bad actor” label attached to it after continuing to service the U.S. market following the enactment of the UIGEA in 2006. The site has yet to be allowed re-entry into the newly regulated U.S. market that is slowly progressing under a state-by-state format of legalization, but Baazov stated previously that he expects to be operating in New Jersey in Q3 of 2015.