Amaya Gaming received a lot of attention when in June 2014 when it completed a $4.9 billion deal and acquired PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker. Canadian based Amaya Gaming took over the two biggest poker websites in the world and by doing so controlled a significant market share in the global online poker industry.
During the last 6 months, Amaya Gaming has made a number of strategic operational changes to the PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker websites to ensure that these websites continue to grow at a rapid pace and bring in maximum revenue. On the 10th of December 2014, Amaya Gaming’s offices in Quebec were subjected to a sudden raid by provincial financial market regulators and the Federal Canadian police.
The Federal Canadian Police did not target Amaya Gaming alone as they also raided the premises of Manulife Financial, a Canadian insurance company and Canaccord Genuity, an investment bank in Canada. The raids are part of a sudden sting operation that wanted to investigate these financial establishments in Canada to ensure that all financial transactions and income were accounted for as per Canadian law. All three companies under investigation were surprised at the raid but offered law enforcement their full cooperation.
The Federal Canadian police have not released any information to confirm why these companies were specifically raided nor have they confirmed when the investigation will be completed. The online gambling industry and poker in Canada is not regulated and one of the biggest concerns that authorities across the globe face is the regulation and monitoring of all online transactions.
Online poker websites are often used for illegal purposes such as money laundering and fraudulent transactions. Gambling establishments are required to carefully monitor all financial transactions and pay relevant taxes. The investigation will most likely look at the $4.9 billion acquisition and current financial transactions that have occurred since then.
Amaya Gaming released a statement which read
Amaya Inc. (the “Corporation”) confirmed that the Corporation and its officers are cooperating with the Autorité des Marchés financiers, the securities regulatory authority in the Province of Quebec (the “AMF”), Amaya will continue to cooperate, if and as requested, consistent with our practice to always cooperate with regulatory authorities. The Corporation will continue to monitor the investigation if and as it proceeds. The investigation has had no impact on Amaya’s business operations, employees or companies.