New CEO at Amaya as David Baazov steps down permanently

New CEO at Amaya as David Baazov steps down permanently

Friday, August 12, 2016 Posted by Andy McCarron
Amaya is not letting the grass grow in replacing former CEO

David Baazov, the man who transformed a small gaming concern into one of the world’s biggest gaming companies, has resigned from the position of CEO at Amaya permanently as he continues to fight insider trading charges.

Baazov stepped down from the role on a temporary basis earlier on this year, with Rafi Ashkenazi installed as the interim CEO, but it was thought that he would return after his ‘leave of abesnce’. However Ashkenazi has now taken the role on a permanent basis.

Baazov commented: “I am proud of my contributions in building Amaya into the successful company it is today, and continue to be supportive of its strategy and management.”

Baazov is one of a number of people charged after an investigation by Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) into insider trading following Amaya’s purchase of the Rational Group last year. While Amaya has been unswerving in its support of Baazov, it seems that it has proved practical to move on.

Ashkenazi certainly appears to be handling the role with confidence. “We continue to execute on our 2016 strategy,” he said. “Through focused expense management and product improvements and diversification, we delivered second quarter results that overcame seasonal headwinds and continued currency challenges, evidencing the strength of our combined core business. In addition, the Special Committee continues to focus on the strategic alternatives process with a committed view towards maximizing shareholder value."

The second quarter saw total revenues and real-money online revenues increase 10.2% and 11.2% year-over-year, respectively, although these increases would have been 40% higher were it not for changes in foreign exchange rates

Real-money online poker revenues and real-money online casino and sportsbook combined revenues represented approximately 75% and 21% of total revenues for the quarter, as compared to 83% and 12% for the prior year period.

This was mainly because real-money online poker revenues for the quarter were ‘virtually flat’ year-over-year at $215.6 million. However Amaya span this as a positive claiming that it showed the initial positive impact of focusing on recreational players, including through changes to its online poker loyalty program and rake structure and the introduction of new poker promotions. Given online poker is a tricky and contracting market, flat revenues could well be a good sign.

Totally Gaming Says: The company is well positioned in the US should there be any regulatory expansion for online poker. PokerStars NJ continues to contribute to the growth of the New Jersey real-money online poker market, which grew by 25% in the period. In the second quarter of 2016, PokerStars NJ accounted for approximately 44% of the total New Jersey real-money online poker revenue.

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