Amaya Misses Guidance For 2015 Thanks To FX Issues, Sports

Amaya Chops 2015 Guidance, Looks To First Half Of 2016 For PokerStars New Jersey Launch

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Amaya – parent company of PokerStars and Full Tilt – released details Tuesday regarding the company’s performance during the third quarter of 2015.

The biggest news from the call: Amaya has been forced to adjust their guidance for 2015 by a material amount, dropping from a range of $1.456bn – $1.564bn to $1.289bn – $1.339bn.

That’s a drop of $167 – $225mm. Amaya chalked up the haircut to FX pressures, a slower-than-expected rollout of sport and casino products, and delays in Portugal.

Misc points of note:

  • Baazov projects  that Russia will issue online poker licenses in 2016.
  • A return to Portugal is expected in the new year.
  • The “beta launch of innovative poker variant” will occur in an upcoming quarter.
  • Over 300,000 customers played real money casino in 3Q15 (PokerStars cannot offer real money online casino to roughly 40% of player base due to compliance reasons).
  • Over 100,000 customers played sports in the quarter.
  • NJ launch of PokerStars coming “first half of 2016.”
  • Full casino rollout (web, mobile, full library) coming 1Q16.
  • Full sports rollout coming 2Q16 but could slip into later quarters.
  • Revenue from sports (BetStars) / daily fantasy sports (StarsDraft) negligible for the quarter.

New Jersey launch for PokerStars coming later than expected

PokerStars received approval to operate in New Jersey at the end of September.

The initial expectation was that a launch of PokerStars and Full Tilt would follow shortly. But it quickly became apparent that early 2016 was a more likely target.

Baazov extended that window further on the call, saying that we should expect a PokerStars to enter the NJ online poker market in the “first half of 2016” – suggesting a launch could move into the spring.

PokerStars going eSports?

Baazov teased “a new poker variant targeting the large and growing skilled video gaming community.”

PokerStars has quite a bit of cultural crossover with the eSports community (see the recent Hearthstone match at BlizzCon between Elky and Daniel Negreanu).

The company is understood to be focusing aggressively on the eSports betting market and a PokerStars variant that tapped the growing interest in wagering on eSports – either directly or peripherally.

Market share continues to grow

PokerStars and Full Tilt now control an estimated 71% of the global online poker market, per Amaya.

Amaya market share

- 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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