Canadian Police Raid Amaya Offices
According to Forbes, Canadian officials raided the offices of Amaya Gamingin Montreal on Wednesday. According to the company, which purchased PokerStars and Full Tilt in June for $4.9 billion, the investigation centers on “trading activities in Amaya securities surrounding the Corporation’s acquisition of [PokerStars and Full Tilt] in 2014.”
Amaya added in a statement that appeared on Online Poker Report’s website, “To the Corporation’s knowledge, this does not involve any allegations of wrongdoing by the Corporation. Amaya will continue to cooperate, if and as requested, consistent with our practice to always cooperate with regulatory authorities. The Corporation will continue to monitor the investigation if and as it proceeds. The investigation has had no impact on Amaya’s business operations, employees, or companies.”
Amaya’s stock predictably shot up with its acquisition of PokerStars, creating the largest publicly traded gaming company in the world. As Online Poker Report put it, such a run-up was bound to, at some point, attract regulatory attention. Amaya’s stock price is shown below.
Twitter exploded at word of the raid. Global Poker Index’s Alex Dreyfus, the head of Zokay Entertainment, Tweeted, “[The raid is] not related to gaming or PokerStars… It should not affect any NJ licensing process, as Amaya is actually the support/victim of the potential trading, not the initiator… So don’t get excited about writing/spreading/gossiping about the future of AYA/Stars because of that. It happens to hundreds of companies.”
Whether the action could affect PokerStars’ entry into the regulated New Jersey market remains to be seen, despite Dreyfus’ comments. Amaya is currently in “time out” in New Jersey while regulators there reportedly wanted to see if Sheldon Adelson’s bid to prohibit internet gambling in the US panned out. It was already booted from the market on Black Friday, although the company has not admitted any wrongdoing.
Regarding Canada, Online Poker Report’s Chris Grovecast doubt on whether the action was related to PokerStars accepting Canadian players. As Grove bluntly put it, rather than focusing on Canada, “Money was made on information that wasn’t public. I’m sure that attracted the interest of regulators.” An October article from PokerNews described Canada as “a country where online poker is not explicitly legal and where Amaya Gaming is headquartered.”
We’ll bring you more details on the raid as we get them.
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