Amaya Trading Charges – What it Means for PokerStars and Full Tilt
One of the biggest players in the online poker field, Montreal-based Amaya, which owns both Full Tilt and Poker Stars, has seen a critical blow to its reputation this week after its young CEO, David Baazov, has decided to take an “indefinite leave” after charges of insider trading were filed against him. This could be damaging for players as it can affect the way the company is run and can take out some of Amaya’s unique insight into the industry. It could also lead to some serious losses.
Last week, Quebec regulators, the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), filed five separate charges against the entrepreneur for “aiding with trades while in possession of priviledged information.” They also accused him of trying to change the market prices of the company.
Amaya, known for changing the face of the online gambling industry with its innovative poker-based games online, made a statement saying Baazov’s leave was only temporary and that he will still recieve money. They added that Baazov wanted to stay away from the company so he can focus on the allegations that were made against him.
For the time being, Divyesh Gadhia, the current Amaya director, will serve as the interim chairman in Baazov’s absence and Rafi Ashkenazi will serve as interim CEO. This may not change much in the running of the business but the absence of Baazov’s personality and ideas may reduce morale and may even lead to lesser quality products being made. This isn’t a slight against the current board, however it’s hard to separate Baazov’s personality with the company. It would be like Virgin without Richard Bransdon.
On the other hand, Braazov himself has said he will remain on the board despite so these worries may be unfounded. The company has, nevertheless, suffered a blow even if Baazov denies he has done any wrong-doing.
Originally setting up Amaya in 2014, the then tiny company pulled in a deal worth over £3 million with industry giants Pokerstars and Full Tilt Poker. First reports of this investigation came the same year when Amaya claimed the AMF arrived at their offices unannounced after receiving intelligence of suspicious trading. Despite this, however, Amaya continued to blossom and remains top of the food chain. With the AMF filing cease trading charges, however, it could experience a serious loss and possibly go under.
Should Players Worry?
Because a lot of this is happening behind the scenes, it’s difficult to imagine all this affecting the average customer. Who cares who’s running the company so long as it’s being run, right? Wrong. CEOs are people too and people have different ways of doing things. Even a little change like a change in management can have repercussions that ricochet down to the very products the business distributes.
Amaya is no different. Poker Stars and Full Tilt will likely see instabilities such as a lack of needed updates, less deals going through which equates to less content and bonuses, and weaker customer support. Waiting for that withdrawal to come through? You might experience a delay of several days. Of course, this isn’t to say this will definitely happen but company infrastructure is important and whenever things go wrong it affects everyone involved, even the consumer.
So if you hear something like this happen elsewhere with a business whose products and services you enjoy/need, it should worry you a little. We hope all these charges against Baazov are unfounded and that he returns to Amaya soon. In the mean time, though, it could mean a period of uncertainty for players as well as the business.
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