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Amaya Gaming Buys PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker For $4.9 Billion

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the clearing-the-table dept.

Businesses 52

Dave Knott (2917251) writes Montreal-based gaming company Amaya Gaming Group Inc. has agreed to purchase privately held Oldford Group, the owner of online poker websites PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, for $4.9 billion. The deal marks the end of a remarkable story that began when Isai Scheinberg, an Israeli-Canadian former IBM computer programmer, founded PYR Software in Toronto and started building PokerStars, which eventually became the largest online poker site in the world. But in 2011, federal prosecutors in Manhattan launched a massive crackdown against online poker in the U.S., indicting Scheinbeg, suing PokerStars and shutting down the U.S. operations of the company for operating an illegal gambling business. In 2012, PokerStars struck a $731 million settlement with federal prosecutors that also saw the company acquire the assets of Full Tilt Poker. However, reentering the vital U.S. market has proved difficult, and in the end, it started to make sense for the Scheinbergs to sell. The Scheinbergs will not remain with PokerStars in any capacity after the current deal closes. In a statement announcing the deal, Amaya said it believes the "transaction will expedite the entry of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker into regulated markets in which Amaya already holds a footprint, particularly the U.S.A."

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And since they're based in Québec (5, Funny)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 2 months ago | (#47234591)

The OLF will force them to rename the websites "PousserDuBoutDuDoigtElleÉtoiles" and "PleinInclinéPousserDuBoutDuDoigtElle".

Re:And since they're based in Québec (1)

thebes (663586) | about 2 months ago | (#47234621)

damn, no mod points...+1 Insightful and +5 Funny. You have to know Quebec language laws to get this. Unfortunately, some might mark it Troll/Flamebait

Is this a forced sale ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47234675)

The original company, Oldford Group, which operates the PokerStars site was sued and indicted by the US government for whatever the US government wanted to accuse them

And they end up having to pay Uncle Sam over $700 million (but this is not totally unexpected, the current US government is looking at suing foreign companies as a way to earn money)

Now another company Amaya, is saying that after it purchases the PokerStars and its sister site Full Tilt Poker, it (Amaya) is going to bring them back to the US market

The whole thing is looking more and more like a conspiracy ---

A. If the Oldford Group is not permitted to operate the sites in the US market, what makes Amaya so confident that it could operate the same sites in the same US market that has barred both of the gaming websites ?

B. If Uncle Sam can sue Oldford Group and order that privately held company to fork over $700 million, what makes Amaya so sure that Uncle Sam won't do the same to it ?

Re:Is this a forced sale ? (1)

NemoinSpace (1118137) | about 2 months ago | (#47234727)

Let me answer "B." first then the answer to "A." will be obvious.
B. - government extorts $731M from someone who is clearly violating the law. Profit $4.169 Billion.
A. See?

Re:Is this a forced sale ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47235709)

cough.donaldsterling.cough

Slow your vitriol. Facts just ahead. (2)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 2 months ago | (#47235809)

$184 million of the money went to reimburse foreign players (non-American) who had money in the game when Black Friday brought activity on the sites to a halt.

American players were allowed reimbursement, which came out of the remaining $547 million, after filing with the Dept of Justice.

Part of the settlement money paid by PokerStars was to acquire it's former rival's assets (Full Tilt).

Re:Is this a forced sale ? (1)

alexo (9335) | about 2 months ago | (#47251429)

If the Oldford Group is not permitted to operate the sites in the US market, what makes Amaya so confident that it could operate the same sites in the same US market that has barred both of the gaming websites ?

B. If Uncle Sam can sue Oldford Group and order that privately held company to fork over $700 million, what makes Amaya so sure that Uncle Sam won't do the same to it ?

Amaya is already licensed to operate in NJ and Nevada (and possibly other states).

Re:And since they're based in Québec (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47234873)

fuck you slashdot. if i select classic over beta, why keep taking me back to beta. set a cookie. respect my choice. otherwise just fuck off...

Re:And since they're based in Québec (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47234915)

Not even funny. You must be a crétin de colonisé peur poster un commentaire pareil...

Re:And since they're based in Québec (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47237949)

"PousserDuBoutDuDoigtElleÉtoiles?!" and "PleinInclinéPousserDuBoutDuDoigtElle"

I think you used google translate, but nobody who speak French can't figure out what you are talking, I may think is about sexual vagina finger, but very bad translate ;-) and you got 5* for this?! ;-)

If you want to speak French, learn about it! ;-)

Re:And since they're based in Québec (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 2 months ago | (#47238631)

"Poke Her" :p

Re:And since they're based in Québec (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47238045)

Tu parles de la christ de marde, google translate French to English : Full Incline Push fingertip It

May be one day, I can be in a room with an English women and said : "Full Incline Push fingertip It" :)

She will understand of curse and have a great night!

This ban on gambling, porn, etc (5, Insightful)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 months ago | (#47234643)

How is this any different from Turkey or Pakistan blocking twitter? And where is the resistance against this crap?

Re:This ban on gambling, porn, etc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47234695)

shhhh... it's ok little one. big brother knows what's best for you. if you just stop resisting, this will all go so much easier.

Re:This ban on gambling, porn, etc (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47234737)

There's a ban on porn? No one told me. And as gambling goes, you can debate all day if it should be regulated or not, but please don't turn a lack of opportunities to take money from suckers into free speech issue.

Re:This ban on gambling, porn, etc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47234771)

It's a tricky issue. Unregulated gambling leads to a lot of (desperate) people getting ripped off by corrupt institutions. Especially online, how hard would it be to know the dealer/house was honest? I'm not for censorship but these kinds of things aren't so clean cut.

Re:This ban on gambling, porn, etc (1)

pspahn (1175617) | about 2 months ago | (#47235187)

how hard would it be to know the dealer/house was honest?

In the case of Pokerstars, just look up "Pokerstars rng".

Besides, this is poker, not some digital slot machine. You're not playing against the house.

Re:This ban on gambling, porn, etc (1)

alexo (9335) | about 2 months ago | (#47251271)

It's a tricky issue. Unregulated gambling leads to a lot of (desperate) people getting ripped off by corrupt institutions. Especially online, how hard would it be to know the dealer/house was honest? I'm not for censorship but these kinds of things aren't so clean cut.

http://www.rationalgroup.com/a... [rationalgroup.com]

Re:This ban on gambling, porn, etc (4, Interesting)

rtb61 (674572) | about 2 months ago | (#47234791)

It is never gambling when the odds are biased in one sides favour, then it is fraud and losing. Quite simply gambling laws need to change, equal odds should be enforced and both sides of the gamble should be forced to 'GAMBLE'. It would be truly humorous to see all those gambling houses being forced to actually gamble, here's betting the majority of those fraudsters would shut down long before they would be willing to actually 'GAMBLE' with their money.

Of course this is likely a share transaction, specifically designed to inflate share prices in order to allow major share holders to dump shares based upon insider bad news. That bad news likely linked to upcoming legislation. Not that it will be say 'Fair Gambling' laws that actually require that both sides share they same gamble when it comes to winning or losing or at least be forced to include substantial warnings that the odds are tilted in the favour and that the punters on average will 'LOSE' and not gamble their money.

I've got no problem with gambling where the odds are equal, where they are one sided, people should be going to jail for fraud.

Re:This ban on gambling, porn, etc (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47234819)

Except none of that applies to poker. It's not gambling against the house with the odds in their favor.

They take a rake of the pot, essentially you're paying for the privilege of using their tables (or software). Like renting a bowling lane or a pool table. Your odds are exactly the same as all of the other players, in the long term the only difference is differences of skill. This is all assuming no cheating or collusion going on of course, and says nothing of the legality of playing poker for money.

Re:This ban on gambling, porn, etc (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47235693)

that is true in person - online you have no idea what you are really playing against. there are many documented cases of online sites allowing players to see all the cards on the table. the documentary I saw showed a 100% proper call on bluff rate over a period of many months.

think about it. you are at a 8 person table. 7 of the players are computers and know your cards. think that make the odds of you winning 'exactly the same'?

Re:This ban on gambling, porn, etc (1)

alexo (9335) | about 2 months ago | (#47251371)

that is true in person - online you have no idea what you are really playing against. there are many documented cases of online sites allowing players to see all the cards on the table. the documentary I saw showed a 100% proper call on bluff rate over a period of many months.

think about it. you are at a 8 person table. 7 of the players are computers and know your cards. think that make the odds of you winning 'exactly the same'?

Firstly, there's licensing and regulations. Some of the regulators (ARJEL for instance) demand that every action go through their servers and is retained for possible fraud investigation. Incidents of bots on your site, can cause you to lose your license.

Secondly, the large operators do not want to kill the goose that lays golden eggs [forbes.com] and are aggressively fighting bots, colluders and other fraudsters. And yes, they can be detected by multiple methods that I am not at liberty to discuss.

The fact is that you are safer playing online than against strangers in meatspace.

Re:This ban on gambling, porn, etc (1)

SecurityGuy (217807) | about 2 months ago | (#47234843)

It is never gambling when the odds are biased in one sides favour, then it is fraud and losing.

Absolute nonsense. It's might fraud if they tell you the odds are even. They don't.

Ironically, some of the worst odds you'll find are in state run lotteries.

Re:This ban on gambling, porn, etc (0)

rtb61 (674572) | about 2 months ago | (#47235181)

It is fraud when they claim in the advertising that you will win. Failure to disclose the truth is also fraud. So your claim is absolutely nonsense and also fraudulent. My how you buggers whine when it comes to the threat of equal odds, don't like to gamble at all do you, HA HA. Now that is exactly why the laws need to change, want to control gambling and reduce its impact force equal odds, feel the burn, equal odds oh my shock horror, don't like gambling at all do you.

Re:This ban on gambling, porn, etc (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47236829)

They don't claim you'll win, so there's no fraud. And as other people have posted, what you're saying has absolutely nothing to do with poker -- where you don't play against the house, you play against each other -- so it's also off-topic.
 
You don't seem to have much of a grasp of the world around you and it also sounds like you may have psychological issues you need to deal with. If you've never been to a therapist, I'd suggest you try it. It can be enlightening, and there's no shame in trying to improve yourself.

Re:This ban on gambling, porn, etc (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 months ago | (#47234993)

If I want to gamble or operate a site, regardless of the odds, that is my right. If you can prove fraud, file charges. Otherwise leave them be.

Re:This ban on gambling, porn, etc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47235201)

There's nothing more entertaining than watching an American assert their right to be stupid. Every country makes a religion of its historical figures, and in America the theocracy is that of exploitative, hypocritical businessmen.

Re:This ban on gambling, porn, etc (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47235349)

Fuck off you know-nothing cunt.

Poker is a game of skill. The house might collect a small percentage of each pot, that is how they stay in business.

Genuinely good poker players will always win in the long run. Idiots who cannot see the difference between a House Game (roulette, craps) and a Player Game (poker) should not be commenting on a poker story.

Re:This ban on gambling, porn, etc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47235543)

What are you talking about? Excuse the arrogance!!

To get to the heart of this whole deal, and showing the pathetic-ness of the feds, they went after these sites because players were using offshore accounts, including the sites themselves. The pathetic part of it, you have some 1%ers and corporations doing the same, and you or I have yet to see a damn thing done to stop them. Its NOT okay for gaming sites , or gamblers, but it seems to be perfectly fine for multimillion-billion dollar companies to cheat Uncle Sam out of his tax cut. That is what this is about!! This isn't about sites cheating or 'fixing' games to drain people out of money.

This is poker, it is a game of skill. You have to know when to play a hand, or try to bluff a hand, all while being able to figure out what the other player/s have, based on how they've played and bet, if there bluffing their hand, or if they've changed up how they are playing. (there's a lot more involved and I do not want to write a how-to and flood the comment) Now you have Analytics involved. In fact (I can't remember the players name off the top of my head) back in the 80'-90's there was a player, and he was able to calculate the numbers in his head almost instantly and he won numerous other cards games besides Texas Hold'em, drug addiction, chasing women, having more money then he knew what do to with, ect.. pretty much leveled his career.

It doesn't matter if it is brick-n-mortar or the Internet, your comment seems like that of someone who thinks they can gamble but are bad at it and blames the casinos or the internet sites for it. I play both and have success at both, and I am not a million dollar player that by some conspiracy fixed it so I get better odds then other players. I've heard and read comments like yours from hundreds of players. It isn't a judgement on you, you could be very observant and are making comments based on what you read or hear. Casinos have admitted to 'fixing games'. However It isn't the same as sitting there and pulling a handle, or standing there rolling die, ect... A lot of gamblers are NOT just throwing money around for the hell of it, either they are extremely lucky most of the time, or they have tuned themselves into some type of instinct on top of predicting/calculating the outcome. That's whats separates them from every other gambler, and the reason they are among the worlds top players.

Re:This ban on gambling, porn, etc (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 2 months ago | (#47235793)

"We will offer gambling, but we will not be gambling ourselves."
-- Arthur Goldberg, president of Hilton's gaming division

Re:This ban on gambling, porn, etc (1)

alexo (9335) | about 2 months ago | (#47251451)

It is never gambling when the odds are biased in one sides favour, then it is fraud and losing.

Not when the odds are known in advance. If you don't like them, don't play.

Now if the odds are misrepresented, it is a whole different issue.

Re:This ban on gambling, porn, etc (2)

SecurityGuy (217807) | about 2 months ago | (#47234853)

http://theppa.org/ [theppa.org]

Unfortunately (if you're a poker player), it's not an issue the general public cares much about, so not much has happened.

Personally, I think it's stupid that I can go blow $20 on a movie and popcorn, or $more drinking in the bar for a night, but if I want to put $50 on a poker site and play it for months, well, that's just gotta be stopped!

Re:This ban on gambling, porn, etc (1)

pspahn (1175617) | about 2 months ago | (#47235223)

Dear Citizen,

We have received your complaint and have made a note to mention it at the Biannual Intrabureaucratic Government Legislative Institutional Engagement. Your concerns are our concerns. Let's discuss this further.

Sincerely,

Your loving Federal Overlord.

Re:This ban on gambling, porn, etc (1)

macbuzz01 (1074795) | about 2 months ago | (#47236147)

^THIS^

The "Black Friday" that destroyed the US market for online poker was not about legality of online poker, it was about an interpretation of the UIEGA by a US DA in New York. Because of the way the sites handled payment processing they were indicted. The Justice Department later stated that the Wire Act doesn't apply to online poker and that implementation of online poker is up to the states.

The UIEGA was a bill attached to a "must pass" ports bill. It was vaguely written (perhaps by design) and did nothing to clarify the legality of poker. I wonder if the lumping of poker (a largely skill based game) with other forms of games of chance was done out of ignorance. I know that before I looked into poker I thought of it as gambling because it was a game where you won or lost money. I've changed my view to hold that gambling = game of chance involving money. Poker is kind of it's own category as long as it's fairly implemented.

I fully understand that it'd be easy to write a house advantaged poker game (think video poker) and/or allow others to see everyones cards (as has happened in the past). I also think that reputable companies would find it to their advantage long term to maintain the integrity of the games they provide.

I hope this is a good move to get Stars / FT back into the US, but it makes me a little wary that a publicly traded company now owns the brand and has to answer to stakeholders / shareholders / profit margins etc.

Re:This ban on gambling, porn, etc (1)

Brulath (2765381) | about 2 months ago | (#47235295)

As far as problem gambling goes...

The most common argument I read about this and related topics is "let them fail", which does appear to be a good idea on the surface – they'll learn a lesson and be able to move on. The problem is that, at least in this case, the result of allowing them to learn for themselves is financial ruin, and then you are obligated to help them recover through various government-funded programs (as allowing them to starve / etc. would be morally dubious to say the least).

In cases where the failure leads to a burden on other people you can fairly easily make the argument that something representing those people (i.e. the government) should intervene and prevent that burden from eventuating, where possible. In this case it involves erecting barriers to gambling that make it more difficult to lose excessive quantities of money; by applying limits to withdrawals from bank accounts within casino-type areas, requiring people to enter licensed areas to gamble, and through other measures, we can reduce the likelihood that someone will lose enough money that we have to solve their problem.

If you or I are going to end up paying for allowing someone else to make their own mistakes – mistakes which could be avoided with less of our money – then I'm all for using strategies to avoid it, with the appropriate cautions and caveats.

Re:This ban on gambling, porn, etc (1)

tgeek (941867) | about 2 months ago | (#47235533)

With all due respect, I don't think you've known very many gambling addicts. Gambling can be a very real addiction - very similar to alcohol or other chemical dependencies. It's not simply a matter of financial irresponsibility or needing to "learn a lesson". Financial ruin is no more or less likely to help a problem gambler than a DUI conviction or loss of a job will help an alcoholic. Sure, it *might* provide that moment of clarity needed to realize they need help . . . or it may send them deeper into their addiction.

Re:This ban on gambling, porn, etc (1)

SecurityGuy (217807) | about 2 months ago | (#47238549)

We don't ban alcohol because there are alcoholics. We ban gambling because some people are using the law to enforce their own dubious moral code.

Re: This ban on gambling, porn, etc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47241877)

Google seals with clubs.

Resistance.

Meanwhile (3)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 months ago | (#47234839)

Meanwhile the government of the united states runs the largest Gambling rackets in the world via lotteries and scratch offs. I don't gable, I think it't stupid. But the fucking government shouldn't be allowed to tell me when I can and when I cannot decide to be stupid. They're not qualified to make that distinction.

Re:Meanwhile (1)

thrich81 (1357561) | about 2 months ago | (#47235021)

The US Government doesn't run any lotteries or scratch offs -- those would be the respective State governments. Can't stick the feds with hypocracy in this one.

Re:Meanwhile (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47235617)

It's "hypocrisy", you ignorant American cretin. Why is it that almost no Americans can spell properly nowadays?

Re:Meanwhile (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 months ago | (#47235759)

It's "hypocrisy", you ignorant American cretin. Why is it that almost no Americans can spell properly nowadays?

Hypocrisy is what he should have written, hypocracy is a clever nickname for our form of government

Re:Meanwhile (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47236853)

It's "hypocrisy", you ignorant American cretin. Why is it that almost no Americans can spell properly nowadays?

Wow, somebody's had too much coffee this morning.

When is Pokerstars and fulltilt going to be legal? (-1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about 2 months ago | (#47234973)

I turned $1.20 into $1000.00 on Pokerstars. I wanted to see if I could turn $1000.00 into a million, but they closed the site

Also I found a way to absolutely CRUSH Rush poker. My sessions would have me winning money constantly even if I was losing races and getting bad beat. I turned like 15$ into 80$ in like just a few days of casual play. Of course Black Friday hit. The thing that makes me sad is that people probably got better over the last few years and my style wouldn't dominate as bad.

Poker is the one game where you can put the odds in your favor, but you gotta be really good and play a lot. I probably have played 5-10 thousand hours of poker in my life and I'm constantly getting my money in good. I haven't used any of my own money on poker sites since 2007. I just miss the big sites where you could get in a game without waiting for a long time.

Re:When is Pokerstars and fulltilt going to be leg (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about 2 months ago | (#47234999)

Disclaimer: I don't recommend Poker for everyone. If you don't treat Poker just right, it can destroy your life even in ways unrelated to your finances. Poker has so many dangers that I can't put it in words. If you start on freerolls and don't put up much of your own money by playing at the smallest stakes then you can work your way up. Just never get a big head on yourself that you're better than you are and start using a lot of money to supplement your bankroll or go out to borrow money to play, etc. There's so many dangers that I don't recommend it for everyone. There's a lot of ways you can treat poker as gambling instead of the skill based game that it is.

I just felt I needed to say a disclaimer because Poker does destroy some irresponsible people's lives even though to me the game is more fun than playing Chess. Computers will play a mean game of NL Texas Holdem pretty soon, but until then, its one of the best games of strategy you can play that a computer isn't superior.

Re:When is Pokerstars and fulltilt going to be leg (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47235537)

Some swedes are in court right now for winning a couple of millions with bots playing poker

WTF is "Full-Tit poker"? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47235237)

Is it the organ I use to make the ladies happy?

Which organ ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47235287)

Is it the organ I use to make the ladies happy?

Your tongue, or your finger ?

A jew involved in gambling... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47235559)

... now there's a surprise...

" Isai Scheinberg, an Israeli-Canadian"

Of course, only JEWS get to have 'dual citizenship', because after all, he sure couldn't care less about the native (white) Canadians (i.e. the people who BUILT the country), since he and his tribe are busily forcing as many non-whites into it as possible, through threats and terrorism...

Oy vey...

i read the title too quickly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47243289)

and article about "full tit poker" sounded interesting

cheap sunglasses for sale (1)

juanlusv (3696347) | about 2 months ago | (#47251393)

Hi! everybody, give you recommend a good shopping place. http://www.jerseysoncn.com/ [jerseysoncn.com] Cheap jerseys/NBA/NHL/NFL/MLB/Hats/Belts/Jewelry/ High quality and best service. Believe you will love it. You must not miss it.

Top gaming company (1)

Duncan.Torrigiani (3573065) | about 2 months ago | (#47261435)

In addition to their 4.9 billion dollars purchase of online poker websites PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, Amaya recently acquired Cryptologic, a pioneer within online casino, Ongame, a leader within online poker, and Cadillac Jack, a successful slot machine manufacturer. By acquiring so many companies, Amaya covers all aspects of the gambling industry while capitalizing on the rapid convergence of technology. With 54 jurisdictional licenses in the US and 90 licenses worldwide, 200 land based customers in the US, I believe Amaya Gaming Group Inc. is the biggest company in the gambling industry.
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