Amaya has come from nowhere to world’s biggest in three short years. Gaming Intelligence examines the secret to this mysterious company’s astonishing rise.

Nobody is quite sure what to make of Amaya Gaming Group. Even Canadian analysts that have been following the company for years were taken aback by Amaya’s jaw-dropping $4.9bn acquisition of PokerStars and Full Tilt.

The mystery of Amaya is partly due to a lack of transparency and partly to do with a lack of history. The company was founded by chief executive David Baazov in 2004 as a supplier of electronic poker tables (with no dealer).

It wasn’t the most successful business ever and the other business, SMS lotteries to emerging markets lotteries, was a slow burner.

“Emerging markets was a big target but governments are slow to adopt and it took a long time to deploy the solutions,” says Canadian analyst Eyal Ofir of Clarus Securities, who has followed Amaya for several years.

By 2011 it had, however, started to make its presence felt with deals in Kenya, Moldova, Armenia and elsewhere. It also had an in-hotel gaming system called Mosino. This was not the sort of foundation from which to rock the gaming world, but Baazov had big ambitions for Amaya.

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