Amaya Inc Look To Make An Entry Into India Late 2017

Canadian based Amaya Inc is looking to expand into India’s budding poker market based on a recent statement by its CEO. Amaya operates the world’s largest poker site PokerStars.

The company is in midst of revamping its branding with the adoption of a new name ‘The Stars Group’. The company has also decided to shift its headquarters from Montreal to Toronto.

The company will continue to maintain a small office in Montreal. These changes were approved during a recent shareholders meeting. The rebranding is expected to commence during August 2017.

Rafi Ashkenaz, Amaya CEO stated on the sidelines of the event that the company was interested in expanding into India and capitalizing on the growing poker market. He cited its large unaddressed population and high smartphone penetration as key reasons for its attractiveness.

In a statement Rafi Ashkenaz CEO said

India is quite an exciting market. It’s a booming country and we want to be there and we want to be there in time and make sure that we are as usual the market leader when it comes to poker.

According to Ashkenazi, India’s online poker market could well climb to $150 million in the next few years. He added that he fully expected Amaya/Stars to become the market leader in poker as is the case in other countries. Ashkenazi went on to say that he expected the company to capture nearly 50 percent of the Indian poker market.

He noted that Amaya’s COO is currently on a visit to India in order to finalize a joint venture deal with an already licensed partner allowing it to launch operations quickly. The company is expected to launch its Indian venture by late 2017. Ashkenazi stated that Amaya/Stars is interested in other Asian markets as well and in the United States. He observed that the while online gambling was popular across Asia, developing the right structure was key for a successful entry.

Several states in America such as New York, California, Pennsylvania, Florida, Illinois and Michigan are currently in legislative discussions regarding bills that look to legalize online gambling. The poker market in the U.S. is estimated to be $2 billion per year whereas the casino gaming market is estimated to be around 10 times bigger.

Responding to questions about the reason for the rebranding, Ashkenazi denied that it because the name Amaya was tainted as a result of recent regulatory issues. Co-founder David Baazov was charged with insider trading last year, resulting in him stepping down.