Sometimes a large acquisition brings about feelings of “buyer’s remorse” in which the purchaser wishes it possible to go back in time in order to negate its new possession. Not so with Amaya’s $4.9 billion acquisition of Rational Group holdings that include the world’s most popular poker site.
“We’re very pleased with the performance of PokerStars and Full Tilt in 2014,” Amaya CEO David Baazov stated recently. “The core poker business continued to grow during the first half of the year and recorded strong cash flow.”
Baazov’s upbeat comments came in the form of a press release announcing the filing of a “Business Acquisition Report” and update. The future looks bright for Amaya and the release did not hide that fact.
We have broadened our rollout of casino, including into Spain, and introduced an exciting new poker game that has proved very popular on Full Tilt and which was recently launched on PokerStars,” Baazov added.
Spin & Go, not Spun & Went
That new game is the somewhat controversial “Spin & Go” that has been lambasted by PokerStars’ grinders for attracting recreational players, diluting the fishy player base normally found at Sit n’ Gos and ring game tables. Those online pros better get used to the new offering, because all indications from Amaya are that the innovative concept first made popular by Expresso Poker on Winamax is here to stay.
“The (Spin and Go) format has proved to be an instant hit, with more than 7.5 million games played over the first two weeks,” the press release added. “The successful launch demonstrates that product innovation can attract new poker players and increase the amount of play from existing customers.”
Also included in the update were the results of the 2014 World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP). Prize money totaling just shy of $62 million was awarded to players over the course of 66 events. That was the third highest total ever with regard to collective WCOOP payouts, despite the fact that U.S. players remain shut out from competing. But that may change one day.
Future Includes Regulated U.S. Market
The BAR makes note of the fact that “steady growth” continues in terms of profits related to its newest acquisition. And on the horizon is the foreseeable penetration into the U.S. regulated online poker and gambling market, as Amaya “anticipates its ownership will have the potential to accelerate the entry of PokerStars and Full Tilt” in the U.S.
Also heralded was the recent release of videos entitled “Inside PokerStars” that show the world the inner workings of the no. 1 poker site. Such transparency has certainly not been the norm in the online poker industry and accomplishes the purpose of allowing players to feel that their funds are safe and secure.
But the hot-button topic at Amaya remains its Spin & Go launch, and the press release praised the new hyper-turbo Sit n’ Go jackpot games even further.
“We believe that the speedy, mobile-friendly poker variant with the exciting potential for a big payout will help attract new recreational players to our platform, reactivate players in our database and excite current players,” Amaya said, also adding that Spin & Gos give “players of all levels the chance to win up to $30,000 in a matter of minutes.”