Baazov Says PokerStars NJ Remains On Track

Baazov: PokerStars “Still On Track” For NJ Online Poker Approval In Third Quarter

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On an earnings call today covering Amaya’s 1Q15 results, CEO David Baazov reiterated that PokerStars NJ remains “on track” for approval and launch in the third quarter of 2015 as outlined in Amaya’s last call.

Baazov’s statement echoes sentiments expressed recently by New Jersey regulators and the owner of PokerStars’ NJ partner Resorts AC.

Listen to a replay of the call here (registration required).

Other highlights from the call


Baazov offered somewhat mixed commentary on California, sounding both positive and non-committal notes that lacked specificity (understandable given the muddy waters surrounding the issue).

“We’re very pleased with the efforts and what we see,” said Baazov, adding that “we’re very very excited about what momentum we see” but that the company lacks a “crystal ball” and that “I guess we’re going to have to stay tuned.”

Daily fantasy sports

In contrast to the last Amaya call, Baazov’s tone regarding the company’s plans for DFS was a bit more subdued.

The issue was only addressed in response to questions from analysts.

“I would say that the goal” is to launch by the start of the NFL season, Baazov said. But he added that the company was pushing the make sure a launch happens by the end of 2015.

Baazov declined to answer questions regarding possible DFS acquisitions and indicated that DFS was not baked into Amaya’s current guidance.

Casino at PokerStars / Full Tilt

Amaya offered a few metrics and other notable bits for casino adoption at PokerStars and Full Tilt.

  • Casino and sports generated roughly CAD $20mm revenue in 1Q15 for PokerStars and Full Tilt, with casino making up the vast majority of that number.
  • The cross-sell on Full Tilt desktop from poker to casino in March was ~33%. For PokerStars, the cross-sell was 20%.
  • The casino product on PokerStars is “nowhere near a complete product,” said Baazov.
  • The target for a complete rollout – desktop, mobile, and web platforms with table games, live dealer and in excess of 200 slot titles – is the end of 3Q15,
  • “We haven’t marketed” casino on PokerStars yet, said Baazov, adding that the company won’t attempt to use casino as an acquisition tool until the full product is deployed.


Other key points:

  • The sports product will be fully rolled out to all eligible markets by the end of 3Q15.
  • The planned NASDAQ listing is proceeding “ahead of schedule” and will occur “before October” per Baazov.
  • Amaya expects casino and sports to account for 13% of total revenue by end of 2015 (up from 6% in 1Q15).
  • In an inversion of the historical revenue distribution between cash / tournaments, “tournaments now generate a significant majority of PokerStars’ online poker gross gaming revenue, with ring/cash games declining as a percentage of total revenues.”
- Chris is the publisher of Grove also serves as a consultant to various stakeholders in the regulated market for online gambling in the United States.
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