Home News Amaya Buys BetStars: Analyst Says DFS to Fail if Classified as gambling

Amaya Has Purchased BetStars and Analyst Claims DFS Will Fail if Classified as Gambling

By: Russell Potvin , Tues. Nov. 17, 2015

BetStars domains purchased by Amaya.

Canada-based Amaya has been on a major spending spree since June when they wrote a $4.9 billion check for PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, but this isn't the end of their spending it seems.

It looks like Amaya are continuing to diversify their assets and through their subsidiary the Rational Group, it has been revealed that they have purchased the redundant online domains of the sports betting platform BetStars. The purchases have included the .com, .co.uk, and .net domains.

BetStars was an international sports betting network up until last June when their Isle of Man operator WilsonBet removed their online operations to focus on their telephone transactions. This opened their domains up to the buying market and it looks like Amaya has secured them.

This comes after Amaya CEO David Baazov revealed in March that his corporation's strategy was to capture a larger share of the online gambling market by venturing into other avenues including sportsbetting, casino, social gaming and daily fantasy sports.

The future looks bright for Amaya and they plan on returning internet poker to the United States in 2016 after being recently approved for a license in New Jersey.

There is some uncertainty to and this comes in the form of daily fantasy sports (DFS) and the looming issue surrounding its legality and regulation. Amaya acquired DFS operator Victiv in August and the website has been rebranded as StarsDraft but with all the controversy over whether or not daily fantasy sports should be classified as gambling this is an issue that we will see a lot of attention being placed on.

At present, sportsbetting is illegal throughout the United States with the exception of Nevada. It is very common in other countries including Canada and Europe. Daily Fantasy Sports are legal in 44 out of the 50 US states but Nevada is the most recent state to take measures in banning these online platforms and forcing them to shut down until they obtain an interactive gaming license.

This top is proving to be very controversial at the moment and both DraftKings and FanDuel have created a multibillion dollar market through their incessant advertising and have attracted pros and amateurs to their platforms. These two leading DFS operators have also attracted a lot of attention of late and the big question for lawmakers and federal prosecutors is whether or not daily fantasy sport is gambling or skill.

According to Eilers Research Managing Director Adam Krejcik, the reclassification of daily fantasy from skill to games of chance will have a dire effect on the market. He went on to say, "I think if you classify it as gambling and you try to regulate it in the same fashion as online gambling, the industry ceases to exist. The model that exists today cannot exist under the kind of proposals I've seen."

This ongoing controversy on DFS laws and regulations has led to a decrease in participation. Eilers figures show that 300,000 entries were submitted for week one of DraftKing's Millionaire Maker which costs $20 per roster. In week eight the total entries were just above 150,000 which is a 46 percent drop in less than two months.

Amaya seems to be very aware of the issues with DFS and they have pulled back on StarsDraft, limiting the platform to only the four states that have favorable opinions on daily fantasy sport.