Amaya Forecasts Bump in Profits, Poker Still Down

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The world’s biggest online poker site is trending up but it’s not necessarily because of poker.

Shares of Amaya, owner of PokerStars, rose this week after the company released better than expected profit expectations for 2017 this week.

Adjusted earnings went from $1.94 to $2.13 a share, which helped drive the stock up 3.2% according to Bloomberg.

Poker actually declined 5.1% in 2016 but a surging casino business more than made up for the loss thanks to the site’s massive player base.

Record Year for Revenue

Amaya’s overall revenue went up 5.9% or 7.8% year-over-year. Poker still represented approximately 73% of profit while the Casino and Sportsbook rose to 25%.

The Canadian company maintained that poker revenue would have remained relatively flat if it wasn’t for a fluctuations in foreign exchange rates.

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PokerStars made a large effort over the last year to focus on recreational players instead of professionals over the last year (although they did recently introduce the All-Stars Cash Game for the hardcore audience).

According to CEO Rafi Ashkenazi the recreational-approach is working.

“2016 was a record year of revenues for Amaya," said Ashkenazi in a statement.

"Our proactive changes to the poker ecosystem and customer acquisition initiatives continue to reverse certain negative trends and we are starting to see organic growth in that business, our casino offering exceeded expectations as we introduced limited marketing campaigns and focused on our cross-sell efforts, and we continued to build and develop our sportsbook.”

Interestingly the earnings report also included an outlook for 2017 that had a few intriguing tidbits including the fact Amaya may go through a corporate re-branding and the company is investigating its options for listing.

Whether that means going private or getting listed on a stock exchange outside of the Toronto Stock Exchange remains to be seen.

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