PokerStars Clean?

Amaya closes deal that removes bad actors

It’s official. Amaya Gaming owns PokerStars.

The company announced that it has completed its purchase of Oldford Group and transferred Rational Group, PokerStars and Full Tilt to the Canadian gaming supply firm.

“We are extremely pleased to have completed this acquisition,” said David Baazov, CEO of Amaya. “Through PokerStars, Full Tilt and its multiple live poker tours and events, Rational’s brands comprise the world’s largest poker business, generating diversified and recurring revenues across the globe from its extremely loyal customer base.”

The purchase was a $4.9 billion all-cash transaction, and also includes the European Poker Tour, PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, Latin American Poker Tour and Asian Pacific Poker Tour events.

Amaya Gaming shareholders approved the transaction a few days before the announcement, and also approved the creation of new financial instruments such as convertible preferred shares and warrants to facilitate the acquisition.

The sale means PokerStars founders Mark and Isai Scheinberg no longer have an interest in the company. Their involvement has blocked PokerStars from getting regulatory approval to operate in the U.S. Isai Scheinberg is still under indictment stemming from the U.S. Department of Justice shutdown of illegally operating international poker sites in the U.S. in 2011.

“Since launching PokerStars in 2001 we have grown the business each year thanks to constant innovation, unparalleled customer service, and the talent of our dedicated workforce,” Mark Scheinberg said in a press statement. “I’m confident that Amaya, together with Rational Group’s leadership, will continue to successfully grow the business into the future.”

Amaya is already working with regulators in New Jersey and could launch online play in the state by the fall. The company is also hoping to enter a potential California online market, but could be blocked if the state enacts a “bad actor” clause in its potential legislation.

According to reports, the price paid by Amaya was financed through a combination of cash on hand, new debt, a private placement of subscription receipts, a private placement of common shares and a private placement of non-voting convertible preferred shares.

Amaya now waits for approval from New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement on a deal with Resorts Atlantic City for PokerStars to operate that casino’s online gaming. DGE Director David Rebuck told GGB News earlier this summer that expected “no surprises” during the investigations to allow licensing for the PokerStars deal.