James Guill

That largest deal in the history of online gaming is now complete. On Saturday, the Amaya Gaming group announced the completion of their $4.9 billion acquisition of PokerStars. As reported by PokerNews, the conclusion of the deal came just three days after Amaya’s shareholders

Amaya Chairman and CEO David Baazov was thrilled over the deal, stating, “We are extremely pleased to have completed this acquisition. 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.”
As part of the deal, PokerStars founder Mark Scheinberg was forced to leave the company. He expressed his optimism for the companies future, sharing, “I am confident that Amaya, together with Rational Group’s leadership, will continue to successfully grow the business into the future.”

“While myself and other founders are departing, we are happy to see the business and the brands we have developed, along with the teams behind them, transferred to strong new ownership”
He continued, “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.”
Also revealed over the weekend, Amaya’s shareholders have agreed to rename the company Amaya Inc, a move made for simplicity.

What’s interesting about the announcement is the sheer speed of the deal’s completion. When initially announced, the timeframe estimated the deal to complete sometime in September. This would allow the company to become licensed and still setup shop for New Jersey by the fall.

So why complete the deal in early August? The reason may be California. As we reported last week, time is running out to get an online poker bill passed in the current legislative session.

August 22 is the cutoff day for any modification to existing bills. This gives lawmakers less than three weeks to get a deal in place regarding bad actors, resolve the horse racing issue and get the modified bill submitted.

Following any modifications, bills can be voted on until the end of the month. An early conclusion to the sale gives Amaya just enough time to try and work out a California deal and potentially get their foothold into two-thirds of the US market.

A PokerStars license in New Jersey is practically a given. Now we will see if Amaya’s big gamble will pay off this year or if they will have to wait until 2015.