Shares of Amaya (TSX:AYA, Nasdaq:AYA) are up today after the company announced the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement has it to operate the PokerStars and Full Tilt brands in New Jersey.
Amaya says the Division of Gaming Enforcement’s review of PokerStars was a detailed one, and included sworn interviews with more than 70 individuals and visits to approximately a half dozen international jurisdictions.
“We are very pleased to add New Jersey to the long list of regulated markets that have found PokerStars and Full Tilt suitable to offer real-money on-line gaming,” said CEO David Baazov. “I want to thank the DGE for their thorough and fair review of our business. We look forward to bringing our popular brands, innovative technology, marketing prowess and world-class security, and game integrity to the growing New Jersey on-line gaming market. We anticipate providing additional details of our launch plans in the near future.”
Dundee Capital markets analyst Eyal Ofir recently speculated that Amaya could rally if granted New Jersey gaming license, in part because some were betting against the Canadian firm.
“We view a New Jersey license as a major catalyst for the stock for two prime reasons: a) Although NJ is not material financially, it will set a precedent and be the first US State allowing PokerStars to enter the market; and b) there are numerous hedge funds that are betting against Amaya’s ability to get licensed and have short positions. We believe this creates a solid risk/reward trading opportunity,” he said.
Last June, Amaya completed the transformational $4.9-billion acquisition of the Oldford Group, which owned the PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker brands.
In 2013, New Jersey became the third state, after Nevada and Delaware, to legalize online gambling. Some speculate that several more states, including Rhode Island, Connecticut, Illinois, Ohio, New York and California may join Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey in legalizing online gambling.
At press time, shares of Amaya on the TSX were up 14.5% to $27.87.