The Stars Group

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Stars Group Inc.
Nasdaq: TSG
IndustryOnline gambling
PredecessorAmaya Inc.
Founded2001; 22 years ago (2001)
DefunctMay 5, 2020 (2020-05-05)
FateAcquired by Flutter Entertainment
Area served
Key people
  • Rafael Ashkenazi (CEO)
  • Divyesh Gadhia (Chairman)
RevenueIncrease US$ 2.0 billion (2018)[1]
Decrease US$ -0.1 billion (2018)[1]
Total assetsIncrease US$ 11.3 billion (2018)[1]
Total equityIncrease US$ 4.2 billion (2018)[1]
Number of employees
4,500 (2019)

The Stars Group Inc. (formerly known as Amaya Inc., Amaya Gaming Group Inc. and Rational Group) was a Canadian gaming and online gambling company headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Its shares were traded on Nasdaq and the Toronto Stock Exchange. It primarily operated poker, casino, and sports betting products under the PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, BetStars, and Fox Bet brands.

Stars Interactive, the online gaming division of The Stars Group, was headquartered in Onchan, Isle of Man where PokerStars had an office since 2005, almost five years after its inception.[2] It held licences or related approvals to operate from 17 jurisdictions and offers its products and services in Europe, North America and elsewhere.[3] In the jurisdictions where it operates, it either maintained a local licence or approval, or used multi-jurisdictional licences issued by the Isle of Man or Malta.

On May 5, 2020, the company was sold to Irish gaming conglomerate Flutter Entertainment.


In June 2014, the company led by David Baazov agreed to buy the parent company of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, owned by Isai and Mark Scheinberg, for $4.9 billion[4][5] borrowing $3 billion for the deal.[6] The takeover made The Stars Group, then called Amaya, the world's biggest publicly listed online gambling company.[7] The deal was closed on August 1, 2014,[8] with final payment being made on May 31, 2017.[9]

David Baazov was Amaya's CEO at that time.[10] In March 2016, following charges by Canadian regulators[11] with multiple securities fraud charges,[12] he took an indefinite leave of absence,[13] and resigned in August.[14] Back in 2014 he was named the youngest king of gambling,[15] and in 2016 AMF prosecutors in the courtroom proclaimed: "David and Josh Baazovs are scammers".[16][11] The proceedings continued until 2018 [17]

In 2016, the AMF found a secret nominee agreement with David in Ofer Baazov's phone. According to the financial markets watchdog's statement at the time, the contract stated that Ofer Baazov and their partner Craig Levett actually owned 75% of the shares of Amaya that CEO David Baazov said he owned, then 50% to from 2008.[18][19]

On June 6, 2018, the Court of Quebec ordered a Stay of the Proceedings brought by the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (Canada) against David Baazov. The Supreme Court of Canada states that a stay of proceedings is the "ultimate remedy," which prevents the court from ever adjudicating the matter.[20] A Stay of Proceedings under Canadian law is the equivalent to a dismissal with prejudice under U.S. law.

On December 20, 2016, Baazov dropped a bid to buy the company with a "virtually unknown" group of outside investors, one of whom denied being involved.[21]

In December 2015, a Kentucky court ordered that Amaya pay $870 million in penalties to cover alleged losses by the state's residents who played real-money poker on the PokerStars website between 2006 and 2011.[22]

In December 2018, the Kentucky Court of Appeals overturned this $870 million judgment on the grounds that the state lacked standing to claim damages under the Loss Recovery Act, which "was never intended to be used in this fashion."[23] Current CEO Rafi Ashkenazi became Interim Chief Executive Officer of The Stars Group, then Amaya, in March 2016 and then permanent chief executive officer in November, 2016. On August 1, 2017, the company changed its name to The Stars Group Inc.[24]

Retired US Army General and former Democratic Party presidential nominee Wesley Clark is a former member of the board of directors.[25] In April 2018, the company acquired UK-focused Sky Betting & Gaming for cash and stock worth $4.7 billion.[26]

In May 2019, Fox Sports announced a partnership with The Stars Group to develop sports betting platforms (including free-to-play, and real-money gambling in states where it is legal) for the U.S. market under the Fox Bet banner—becoming the first major U.S. sports broadcaster to introduce a co-branded sports betting platform. As part of the partnership, Fox Corporation acquired a 4.99% stake in the company for $236 million. There was also an option for Fox to acquire up to a 50% stake in The Stars Group's U.S. operations within the next 10 years.[27][28][29]

On October 2, 2019, Flutter Entertainment announced an agreement to acquire The Stars Group for $6 billion. Fox will have the option to acquire an 18.5% stake in its U.S. subsidiary FanDuel Group in 2021.[30][31] On December 3, 2019, The Stars Group announced it had completed its acquisition of Australian online sports betting business BetEasy[32] after originally acquiring a majority stake in the company (then known as CrownBet) from casino operator Crown Resorts in 2018.[33]

The sale of The Stars Group to Flutter was completed on May 5, 2020.[34]


  1. ^ a b c d "The Stars Group" (PDF). The Stars Group. Retrieved 30 December 2019.
  2. ^ "PokerStars History". 3 Oct 2019. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  3. ^ United States Securities and Exchange Commission Form-10 Registration Statement
  4. ^ "Amaya Agrees to Acquire Rational Group for $4.9B". Amaya Gaming. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
  5. ^ "Amaya Gaming In Deal To Buy PokerStars For $4.9 Billion". Forbes. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
  6. ^ "David Baazov's Amaya Gaming Wins Big with Giant Online Poker Acquisition". Jewish Business News. 2014-09-29. Retrieved 2018-03-07.
  7. ^ "Canada's Amaya acquiring PokerStars owner Rational Group for $4.9bn". Montreal News.Net. Archived from the original on 26 July 2014. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
  8. ^ Wall Street Journal: Amaya Completes Acquisition of Pokerstars and Full Tilt Poker[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ Amaya Makes Final Payment on Rational Group Deferred Purchase Price
  10. ^ "The King Of Online Gambling (Is 34)". 2014-12-01. Retrieved 2018-03-07.
  11. ^ a b The Story Of Josh Baazov | AMF
  12. ^ "CEO of online gaming company Amaya faces charges", Toronto Star, March 23, 2016
  13. ^ "Amaya CEO David Baazov Takes Indefinite Leave Of Absence Amid Insider Trading Charges", Forbes, March 29, 2016
  14. ^ "Amaya CEO David Baazov officially resigns after growing an online gambling giant", Financial Post, August 12, 2016
  15. ^ is-34 /? sh = 3b68ff9d396f "The King" of gambling | Forbes[dead link]
  16. ^ Amaya CEO David Baazov facing insider trading charges | CBC
  17. ^ Quebec judge tosses insider trading trial against former Amaya CEO | CBC
  18. ^ Arcand, Denis. "L'ex-chef veut faire fermer le casino". La Presse. Retrieved 19 April 2023.
  19. ^ Rukavina, Steve. "Quebec judge tosses insider trading trial against former Amaya CEO". CBC. Retrieved 11 April 2023.
  20. ^ "Suresh v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)". International Journal of Refugee Law. 14 (1): 96–140. 2002-01-01. doi:10.1093/ijrl/14.1.96. ISSN 0953-8186.
  21. ^ "Baazov folds on $4.1-billion Amaya bid", The Globe and Mail, December 20, 2016
  22. ^ "Kentucky fines PokerStar's owner $870 million to cover residents' losses". Reuters. Reuters. 2015-12-24. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  23. ^ "Kentucky Court Upends $870M PokerStars Judgment". Courthouse News Service. 21 December 2018. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  24. ^ Amaya Changes Name to The Stars Group
  25. ^ Bloomberg: Wesley Clark - The Penny-Stock General
  26. ^ "Stars Group Goes Big On Sports Betting, Acquires Sky Bet For $4.7 Billion". Online Poker Report. 2018-04-21. Retrieved 2018-04-24.
  27. ^ News, Bloomberg (2019-05-08). "Fox buys US$236M Stars Group stake to enter betting market". BNN Bloomberg. Retrieved 2019-10-02. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  28. ^ "Fox Sports, Stars Group to offer sports betting in deal". Las Vegas Sun. 8 May 2019. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  29. ^ Sherman, Alex (8 May 2019). "Fox Sports becomes the first big media company to put its brand on a sports betting product". CNBC. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  30. ^ Ziady, Hanna (2 October 2019). "Online betting merger brings Paddy Power and PokerStars together". CNN. Retrieved 2019-10-02.
  31. ^ Walker, Katherine Sayre and Ian (2 October 2019). "FanDuel Owner Buys PokerStars in $6 Billion Deal". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2019-10-02.
  32. ^ Allen, Brad (3 December 2019). "Matt Tripp to stand down as BetEasy CEO as Stars Group completes takeover". EGR North America. Retrieved 6 December 2019.
  33. ^ Stensholt, John (26 February 2018). "Crown's $150m stake in CrownBet sold to Canada's The Stars Group". Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 6 December 2019.
  34. ^ "Flutter Entertainment completes merger with Stars Group". iGaming Business. 2020-05-05. Retrieved 2020-11-30.