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READY TO ROLL: David Baazov

Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Amaya Gaming Group

READY TO ROLL: David Baazov

David Baazov became CEO of Amaya Gaming Group in 2006. But the next few years for his company may seal the legacy of one of gaming’s most remarkable young executives.

Baazov went to work for Vortek Systems Inc., a supplier and distributor of computer hardware, as the computer industry was facing the financial challenges of the dot-com crash in 2000. For the ensuing six years, he built on his computer expertise as Vortek’s vice president of sales.

But it would be Baazov’s tenure as the head of Amaya, a Montreal, Canada-based technology supplier for a variety of online, mobile and land-based gaming operations, that would reveal a vision that belies the years of the executive, all of 32.

In the past six years, Baazov has steadily built Amaya into a company that stands as one of those most well-prepared for the gaming industry of the 21st century. The development of Amaya into a worldwide multi-discipline supplier has culminated over the past 18 months, during which time Baazov has orchestrated no less than four major acquisitions to complete the company’s offerings.

Amaya first acquired Calgary-based Chartwell Technologies, a supplier of game content for internet casinos, in July 2011. Last April, Amaya acquired Dublin, Ireland-based Cryptologic, a respected supplier of internet gaming platforms and payment processing software.

Two more acquisitions last fall would complete the Amaya picture (for now, at least). In September, the company announced the acquisition of Georgia-based gaming machine manufacturer Cadillac Jack. In October came the announcement that the company was to buy the Stockholm-based B2B poker network Ongame from bwin.party.

“Amaya was built on the vision of providing content to the gaming industry on a common platform across all media,” Baazov says, “whether physical, virtual, interactive or mobile. The acquisitions of some of the top-tier gaming content and brands have really allowed Amaya to accelerate that vision.”

The acquisition of Cadillac Jack ties Baazov’s vision for Amaya to the world of land-based casinos. “Cadillac Jack is instrumental in providing Amaya the capability of extending our offering to meet land-based operators, which allows for significant cross-selling opportunities as the regulatory framework evolves,” Baazov says. “This also provides land-based operators the opportunity to extend their offering to customers beyond the confines of the physical casino.”

He adds that Cadillac Jack provides Amaya with an accelerated penetration of the U.S. market, while giving Cadillac Jack immediate access to Canada and Europe—not to mention Amaya’s wealth of i-gaming content.

Ongame, Baazov says, completes the picture for Amaya. “Ongame is a leading provider of online B2B poker for Europe; it’s the second largest poker network in the world,” he says. “The combination of existing Amaya casino games coupled with Ongame’s poker network solution provides a complete best-of-breed online gaming solution.”

Baazov says no more acquisitions are on his front burner. The next year will be spent integrating last year’s acquisitions into the Amaya family, creating synergy among the various brands, and creating efficiencies.

Of course, he says, never say never. “We’re always open to acquisitions that serve to accelerate and augment our product offerings and business objectives,” says Baazov.

Imagine what he’ll do with the next six years.

Frank Legato is editor of Global Gaming Business magazine. He has been writing on gaming topics since 1984, when he launched and served as editor of Casino Gaming magazine. Legato, a nationally recognized expert on slot machines, has served as editor and reporter for a variety of gaming publications, including Public Gaming, IGWB, Casino Journal, Casino Player, Strictly Slots and Atlantic City Insider. He has an B.A. in journalism and an M.A. in communications from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. He is the author of the books, How To Win Millions Playing Slot Machines... Or Lose Trying, and Atlantic City: In Living Color.  

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