Shareholder Letter Blasts Baazov’s Bid in Latest Twist for Former Amaya CEO

Since November 14, the ongoing efforts of Amaya founder and former CEO David Baazov to acquire the Toronto-based online gaming firm and PokerStars’ parent company have made headlines seemingly every week.

When news broke that Baazov – the Amaya founder and leader of the bold acquisition of PokerStars in 2014 who was forced out this year amidst insider trading allegations – was pursuing an acquisition to take the company private, Amaya stock surged by 15 percent to CAD$21 per share.

In filings submitted to both the Toronto Stock Exchange and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Baazov claimed to have the financial backing needed to make a cash purchase of the roughly 80 percent of Amaya stock he doesn’t currently own. That acquisition – valued at CAD$3.65 billion at a price of C$24 per share – was said to be backed by four primary investors: Hong Kong-based Head & Shoulders Global Investment Fund and Goldenway Capital, British Virgin Islands-based Ferdyne Advisory, and Dubai-based KBC Aldini Capital.

On November 22, however, Toronto’s Globe and Mail reported that KBC founder Kalani Lal disputed Baazov’s assertion of financial backing. Per the report, Lal had never even spoken with Baazov, and KBC had already filed complaints over the fraudulent use of its company name:

“I don’t know who Amaya is. We have not given any commitment, nor have we had any discussions or any type of verbal communication.”

Baazov then refiled his claim with the SEC, listing only two backers: Head and Shoulders and Goldenway.

One day later, Baazov was forced to address Lal’s statement with a retraction, claiming that he had been deceived by somebody pretending to represent KBC.

On November 25, Goldenway’s Vice President of Operations Ricky Lai issued a statement pledging full support for Baazov’s bid:

“(We’re) prepared to increase our commitment if so required in order to conclude a successful transaction.”

As the situation progressed, a Boston-based investor filed a lawsuit claiming that Baazov intentionally included KBC in his filings – despite knowing he had no agreement in place – with a goal of manipulating Amaya’s stock price.

Shares of Amaya had climbed by 18 percent on the bid news, before plummeting for a full six percent reversal when KBC denied involvement.

With Amaya’s name and reputation seemingly at the whim of Baazov’s influence, shareholders expressed concern over the company’s current connection with the scandal-ridden CEO.

As reported by Bloomberg on December 5, investor and activist Jason Ader – owner of one percent of Amaya’s shares through his SpringOwl Asset Management firm – sent a letter to Amaya’s current CEO, calling for the company to distance itself from Baazov:

“It’s time for the company to fully move on from the undue influence of (Baazov), whose bid is a continued attempt by a discredited former executive to capitalize on the Amaya situation at other shareholders’ expense.”

If we have a credible bid with transparency, then we should consider it. But the current price seems low and the lack of transparency and the information about the sources of funding raises a lot of questions.

If I were making a $4 billion bid and would want the shareholders to take me seriously, I would provide much more transparency to the shareholders. (Amaya) needs to get back to growing the business.”

A spokesperson for Baazov responded by stating that the acquisition effort is ongoing.

Updated Betting Lines on the 2016-17 NBA Championship

Entering the 2016-2017 NBA season, most pundits and prognosticators penciled in the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers, and the team they usurped for the crown, the Golden State Warriors, to reprise their rivalry for the third straight Finals.

Back on October 25, the Opening Night odds released by Bovada put the retooled Dubs (+125) as big favorites to win it all, with the Cavs (+300) their only close competitor.

Just over six weeks has passed since then, and today the NBA’s premier team pecking order remains largely unchanged. The LeBron James-led Cavaliers top the Eastern Conference at 15-5, while Steph Curry and new sidekick Kevin Durant have staked the Warriors to a 20-3 record out West.

Accordingly, Bovada has barely adjusted Golden State’s (+110) title odds, while Cleveland (+300) remains unchanged. Both teams are doing exactly what was expected of them, no major injuries or off-court imbroglios have emerged, and their respective paths through the conference seem to contain only two viable contenders each.

Those contenders are the teams driving the real change in Bovada’s championship odds, as several teams have made major moves in either direction.

The Los Angeles Clippers (+650) are currently given the best odds of disrupting the Cavaliers/Warriors duo, after entering the year at +2500. After starting a scorching 14-2, the Clips have come down to Earth a bit with five losses in their last seven games – including a 115-98 demolition at the hands of the Warriors.

The San Antonio Spurs (+800) have seen their title odds increase slightly, having started the season at +900. At 18-5, the perennial powers own the league’s second-best record, and Gregg Popovich’s team appears poised to power onward in their first season of the post-Tim Duncan era.

The Toronto Raptors (+2800) have narrowed their Opening Night odds (+5000) by nearly half, on the strength of a 15-7 record – second only to Cleveland in the East.

The team that has enjoyed the largest jump thus far is the new-look Houston Rockets (+3300), who are thriving under new head coach Mike D’Antoni’s famously fast-paced system. With James Harden flourishing as a hybrid point-shooting guard, the 15-7 Rockets have climbed into the championship conversation after starting the year as +10000 longshots.

One team that has fallen off considerably is the Boston Celtics (+3300), who have dropped from their (+1800) status despite sitting in third place in the East at 13-9.

The Chicago Bulls (+4000) are the only other team in basketball pegged at 40 to 1 or better to win it all, a slight improvement over their +5000 starting odds.

The full table of title odds for all 30 NBA teams can be found below:

2017 NBA Championship Odds at Bovada

Team 12/09 Title Odds
Golden State Warriors -110
Cleveland Cavaliers +300
L.A. Clippers +650
San Antonio Spurs +800
Toronto Raptors +2800
Houston Rockets +3300
Boston Celtics +3300
Chicago Bulls +4000
Oklahoma City Thunder +5000
Atlanta Hawks +5000
Memphis Grizzlies +7500
Portland Trail Blazers +7500
Indiana Pacers +7500
Charlotte Hornets +7500
Utah Jazz +7500
N.Y. Knicks +7500
L.A. Lakers +10000
Detroit Pistons +15000
Milwaukee Bucks +20000
Washington Wizards +25000
Miami Heat +25000
Minnesota Timberwolves +30000
Sacramento Kings +30000
Orlando Magic +30000
Denver Nuggets +30000
Dallas Mavericks +50000
New Orleans Pelicans +50000
Phoenix Suns +100000
Brooklyn Nets +100000
Philadelphia 76ers +100000

Betting Guide for College Football Bowl Season

Following a nationwide bye week of sorts, aside from the annual Army (6-5) / Navy (9-3) game , the last days of December will see dozens of bowl games play out.

Serving as a reward for programs that have persevered through a long summer schedule to build a winning record, even the most minor of bowl games – think the Dollar General Bowl and the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl – provide the perfect setting for a season-ending clash.

While diehard fans and alumni savor the appetizers, the most prestigious bowl games offer football fans everywhere a full platter of premium play. The top teams in all of college football square off on neutral turf, the senior class battles their collective heart out to experience the thrill of victory one last time, and Playoff bubble teams make their case.

Bowl season starts to simmer on December 17, but the most important games are reserved for New Year’s weekend. Below you’ll find a game capsule with early betting lines for the best bowl games on the schedule – beginning of course with the College Football Playoff semifinal games – before moving down the line in order of prominence:

Peach Bowl (December 31 at 3pm ET)
#1 Alabama (13-0) vs. #4 Washington (12-1)

The fourth-ranked Huskies made the Playoff by nipping fifth-ranked Penn State, but their reward is a Peach Bowl date with the defending national champion Crimson Tide. The game will be played at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, so Alabama fans have the travel advantage, but Washington’s contingent will represent itself well on the heels of a Cinderella season.

Alabama ended the regular season with consecutive victories over ranked teams, beating Auburn and Florida by a combined score of 84-28. The consensus line likes that trend to continue, as Alabama opened as 14-point favorites, before moving up to a 16-point edge.

Fiesta Bowl (December 31 at 7pm ET)
#2 Clemson (12-1) vs. #3 Ohio State (11-1)

The second semifinal game pits second-ranked Clemson against third-ranked Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl, held at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Tigers hope to return to the championship game for a second straight season, after pushing Alabama to the limit in a 45-40 thriller last year.

To do so, they’ll need to beat a determined Buckeyes squad which is riding high after eliminating archrival Michigan from Playoff consideration in The Game. The consensus line leans toward Ohio State, as the Buckeyes opened as 3-point favorites, before inching up to a 3.5-point advantage.

Rose Bowl (January 2 at 7pm ET)
#5 Penn State (11-2) vs. #9 USC (9-3)

This year’s Rose Bowl sees the ninth-ranked USC Trojans defend home turf against a fifth-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions team that is still smarting from a Playoff snub.

For the Trojans, who started 1-3 before reeling off eight straight wins, the Rose Bowl is essentially a freeroll, as nobody expected them to be here. That puts all the pressure on Penn State, who will be desperate to show the nation that they deserved to be playing for a national championship.

Considering the home field advantage enjoyed by USC, the consensus line opened with the Trojans as 6.5-point favorites, and has since moved to a full touchdown spread.

Orange Bowl (December 30 at 8pm ET)
#6 Michigan (10-2) vs. #11 Florida State (9-3)

A berth in the Orange Bowl is likely no consolation to head coach Jim Harbaugh and his sixth-ranked Michigan Wolverines, a team that was considered a Playoff lock all year.

For a rebuilding 11th-ranked Florida State squad, any big bowl game is big, and playing in their home state at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami is just a bonus. Despite playing in friendly confines though, the consensus line opened with Michigan as 6.5-point favorites, and has hovered there since.

Sugar Bowl (January 2 at 8:30pm ET)
#7 Oklahoma (10-2) vs. #14 Auburn (8-4)

In the Sugar Bowl, two perennial powers who fell a bit short of the finish line look to end their season on a high note. The consensus line favored seventh-ranked Oklahoma by 5.5 points, but the number has since slipped to 4.5 points.

Cotton Bowl (January 2 at 1pm ET)
#8 Wisconsin (10-3) vs. #15 Western Michigan (13-0)

As the only undefeated Top-25 team not coached by Nick Saban, the 15th-ranked Western Michigan Broncos ran roughshod through their entire schedule this year. Unfortunately for them, the caliber of play within the mid-level Mid-American Conference (MAC) wasn’t high enough to warrant Playoff consideration, so a Cotton Bowl date with Big Ten bullies have to suffice.

The eighth-ranked Wisconsin Badgers played well all year, and their only losses on the season were to the aforementioned Ohio State/Penn State/Michigan trio of conference rivals. The consensus line opened with Wisconsin as 6.5-point favorites, and early betting has already pushed the number to 7.5 points.

Ten Attorneys General Pen Letter to Pence Calling for Online Poker Ban

Five years ago in December, the Department of Justice (DOJ) acted in accordance with Obama Administration policy to effectively remove the federal laws prohibiting online poker and casino gambling.

At the time, U.S. Deputy Attorney General James Cole wrote a letter to the Attorneys General of New York and Illinois, siding with their challenges that the Wire Act of 1961 should not be applied to online lotteries and other forms of gambling:

“The Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (“OLC”) has analyzed the scope of the Wire Act, 18 U.S.c  § 1084, and concluded that it is limited only to sports betting.”

With one simple sentence, the DOJ reversed its own longstanding policy against online gambling. In the five years to follow, states like Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware have passed bills permitting regulated online gambling industries, while several others are currently considering similar legislation.

Today, however, with President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence poised to assume office in January, another missive from Attorneys General threatens to reverse the pivotal Wire Act reinterpretation.

On November 17 a group of 10 Attorneys General, each representing the Republican Party, penned a letter to VP-elect Pence – a longtime opponent of online gambling in any form – calling for the new administration to intervene:

“Since 1961, the Wire Act…has prohibited all gambling involving interstate wire transmissions. The Obama Administration overruled 50 years of practice and precedent when a Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel opinion claimed the Wire Act only applied to sports betting and not to other types of online gambling.

Dismantling the Wire Act undermined state online gambling prohibitions. Without a federal prohibition, (DOJ) opened the door to expansive internet gambling and exposed states to the significant negative impacts that often accompany online gambling.”

The coalition includes Attorneys General from the usual lineup of Southern states traditionally opposed to online gambling, with one notable surprise in Adam Laxalt of Nevada:

Jeff Landry (R-Louisiana)
Bill Schuette (R-Michigan)
Douglas J. Peterson (R-Nebraska)
Adam Laxalt (R-Nevada)
Wayne Stenehjem (R-North Dakota)
E. Scott Pruitt (R-Oklahoma)
Alan Wilson (R-South Carolina)
Marty Jackley (R-South Dakota)
Ken Paxton (R-Texas)
Sean Reyes (R-Utah)

The letter rehashes the same consumer protection arguments that have been roundly debunked by members of Congress during failed efforts to pass the Restore America’s Wire Act (RAWA):

“Anonymity is the Internet’s greatest weapon and the federal government has the resources and oversight necessary to truly address the dangers of online gambling and protect the American people.

Online gamblers are vulnerable to fraud and identity theft…some online sites have been found to use forced labor to ‘farm currency’…(and) the sites themselves are vulnerable to hacking.”

Rich Muny, the Vice President of the Poker Player’s Alliance (PPA), issued a statement assailing the letter and its lack of factual argument:

“This is simply a bad idea. A ban would reduce individual freedom while limiting the ability of states to protect consumers. The arguments made in the letter are factually incorrect and attempt to conflate offshore online gaming with state-authorized online poker. US-based sites block for age and location.

There are zero documented cases of underage or out-of-state play, yet the letter pushes a ‘Reefer Madness’ type narrative of underage ‘gambling additions [sic]’. I guess if ten attorneys general cannot spell-check a letter to the VP-elect, expecting a fact-check from them would be out of the question, sadly.”

Betting Guide for Week 14 of the NFL Season

The NFL season is rounding the last bend and flying to the finish line, with only four games left on the schedule for each of the league’s 32 teams.

Accordingly, with the standings further stratified by overall record, four woeful teams have already been eliminated from playoff contention: The Cleveland Browns (0-12), Jacksonville Jaguars (2-10), and New York Jets (3-9) in the AFC; and the San Francisco 49ers (1-11) on the NFC side.

On the other side of the coin, the Dallas Cowboys (11-1) have ridden their 11-game winning streak – including three victories in the span of 12 days between Weeks 11 and 13 – to become the first team to clinch a postseason berth. But with a full 2.5-game lead over the Seattle Seahawks (8-3-1) for the NFC’s top seed, Dallas definitely has its eyes on securing a first-round bye and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

And “America’s Team” can do just that this Sunday with a road win over their archrivals – and the only team to beat the ‘Boys this year – the New York Giants (8-4).

That victory by Big Blue came way back in Week 1 though, when Dallas was still smarting from the loss of star quarterback Tony Romo, and unsure of what they had in his rookie replacement Dak Prescott. Fast forward to Week 14, and Dallas looks to be an offensive juggernaut, powered by Prescott’s preternatural poise, and rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott’s 1,285-yard rushing effort.

To clinch the NFC East, Dallas needs only to down New York on Sunday Night Football, but if other games fall the right way, the Cowboys could clinch the NFC’s top seed. They’ll need the Detroit Lions (9-3) and the Seahawks to lose or tie for that scenario to occur, but Dallas likely remains focused on the task at hand.

The bookmakers at Bovada like Dallas’ chances, even on the road, making the Cowboys 3-point favorites in this pivotal primetime game.

The New England Patriots (10-2) can also clinch their division with a win, but they’ll have to beat perennial playoff rivals in the Baltimore Ravens (7-5). A Patriots win coupled with a loss or tie by the Miami Dolphins (7-5) will clinch New England’s 13th AFC East title in the last 14 seasons. And if the Pittsburgh Steelers also cooperate with a loss or tie, the Pats can even clinch a first-round bye.

Road games in Foxboro are never easy, and that’s especially true when New England is motivated, so Baltimore faces a tough test on Monday Night Football. The Ravens are playing to preserve their own divisional aspirations, so the game should be a spirited affair, but Bovada gives the lean to Brady, Belichick, and Co. – installing New England as full 7-point home favorites.

Normally the Patriots’ path to a number one seed in the AFC is unimpeded, but this year the upstart Oakland Raiders (10-2) are neck and neck. That race will likely go down to the Week 17 wire, but the Raiders can clinch a playoff berth – their first since 2002 in fact – by beating the Kansas City Chiefs (9-3) on Thursday Night Football. Oakland will need either Miami or the Denver Broncos (8-4) to lose as well, but both teams have tough games of their own, so a playoff berth for residents of the Black Hole could soon be in order.

The oddsmakers at Bovada have this as a virtual pick’em, giving the Chiefs a standard 3-point edge as home favorites.

William Hill Sportsbook Becomes First eSports Betting Provider in Nevada

For the first time, bettors in Nevada can place wagers on the outcome of video and computer game tournaments – collectively known as eSports.

The service was made available on Friday, November 18th through the William Hill-operated sportsbook located within the Downtown Grand Casino in Las Vegas.

The first slate of eSports wagers made available by the British-based William Hill covered the Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) tournament series in Oakland, held over the following weekend at Oracle Arena. Bettors at the Downtown Grand were able to choose between any of the six teams participating in the IEM Oakland’s two-day League of Legends (LoL) tournament.

The odds offered made Team SoloMid (+110) the clear favorite ahead of the weekend tournament, followed by Longzhu (+160), Flash Wolves (4/1), Unicorns of Love (10/1), INTZ e-Sports (60/1), and The Chiefs Esports (100/1).

Additionally, wagers could be placed on a pair of Saturday LoL quarterfinal matches, with INTZ e-Sports (+180) a slight underdog to Unicorns of Love (-220), and Longzhu (-1100) the heavy favorite over The Chiefs Esports (+700).
In the end, Unicorns of Love overcame steep 10 to 1 odds against and defeated the favored Flash Wolves in a thrilling best-of-five finals.

The eSports industry includes full-fledged leagues like IEM, fielding teams of professional players who compete in tournaments involving popular video games, such as the multiplayer battle LoL and the military combat simulation Counter Strike: Global Offensive.

The addition of eSports to Nevada’s sports betting landscape was smoothed by regulatory approval from the state’s Gaming Control Board (NGCB). The Chairman of the NGCB, A.G. Burnett, approved the licensing application submitted by William Hill and Fifth Street Gaming, operator of the Downtown Grand, under the provisions of Regulation 22.

Specifically, Burnett found that regulatory exemption (22.120(f)) allows wagers on non-sporting events, including the winner of the Heisman Trophy and other awards. As such, eSports was approved by classifying events as falling under the “non-sporting” variety.

Nevada’s governor Brian Sandoval took an active role in making the state a pioneer within the field of eSports betting, and he issued a statement celebrating the licensing approval:

“This announcement is a major step toward ensuring Nevada becomes the e-sports capital of the world. By embracing this unique opportunity and incorporating innovation and technology into our gaming industry, we’re expanding the potential of one of our oldest industries.

Representatives from William Hill and Downtown Grand have been active partners with the Gaming Policy Committee as we examined e-sports wagering in the State of Nevada. I would like to congratulate them on this approval and commend both companies for their swift work and determination.”

Seth Schorr, who serves as Chief Executive Officer for Fifth Street Gaming and Chairman of the Downtown Grand Casino, echoed Governor Sandoval’s sentiments in his own statement:

“It has been an honor and a privilege to work closely with Chairman Burnett and the Governor’s Gaming Policy Committee to gain collective support for wagering on eSports.

We are proud that the Downtown Grand will be the home to the first regulated eSports wager in America. The team at the Downtown Grand has worked hard to establish itself as a truly unique eSports destination.”

William Hill and the Downtown Grand are already planning for the next major eSports tournament on the calendar, the Major League Gaming eSports Festival, held at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas December 16th-18th.

Bettor in Nevada Turns $5 Into $85,095 Via NFL Progressive Parlay Card Contest

For savvy sports bettors, the parlay ticket is a sure sign of inexperience when making wagers, and a surefire way to part ways with a bankroll.

And in the precision field of betting on National Football League games, linking even two games together in a parlay ticket can reduce one’s expected value from right around 50/50 to longshot status. Simply put, in the age of perpetual parity, it’s difficult enough to nail a single NFL game correctly. Nailing two or more is just asking for trouble with odds against that are too steep to overcome.

So when news broke out of Nevada about a lucky bettor landing a 15-game parlay ticket, turning a $5 bill into more than $85,000 in the process, the story was sure to be passed around betting parlors throughout the country. Sure enough, ESPN Chalk writer David Payne Purdum tweeted out an image of the winning 15-legger on Tuesday, November 22 – less than 24 hours after the Monday Night Football final made things official.

The improbable string of correct picks occurred during Week 11 action, as part of the William Hill Sportsbook’s “Pro Football Progressive Parlay Contest.” Available within any William Hill-operated sportsbook or sports betting kiosk – dozens of which can be found throughout Las Vegas and the state of Nevada – the Pro Football Progressive Parlay Contest requires players to select 15 picks from the week’s slate of NFL action.

The entry fee is just $5, and players are permitted to enter as many tickets as they’d like in hopes of landing the progressive jackpot, which is seeded at $10,000 and rolls over each week that goes by without a winner. As for the picks, they are made straight up rather than against the spread.

In this case, with four teams (Atlanta, Denver, New York Jets, San Diego) enjoying their bye over Week 11, that left 13 games on the schedule from which to pick. In order to meet the 15-pick threshold, William Hill’s rules stipulate that selected Over/Under totals will be included to compensate.

As a result, the winning ticket held 13 game picks and two Total picks heading into Week 11’s Thursday action:

  • Colts over Titans
  • Colts/Titans UNDER 52.5
  • Lions over Jaguars
  • Buccaneers over Chiefs
  • Giants over Bears
  • Vikings over Cardinals
  • Bills over Bengals
  • Cowboys over Ravens
  • Steelers over Browns
  • Dolphins over Rams
  • Patriots over 49ers
  • Seahawks over Eagles
  • Redskins over Packers
  • Redskins/Packers OVER 50.5
  • Raiders over Texans

When they could, the winning bettor played things close to the vest, selecting favorites like the Patriots and Steelers to down overmatched doormats in the 49ers and Browns, respectively. But for the most part, Week 11 offered a balanced set of games pitting evenly matched teams against one another, and the winner correctly chose every one.

In terms of major upsets, the winning ticket correctly called the Buccaneers beating the Chiefs and the Redskins rolling over the Packers.

When it came to big sweats, the winner needed a 10-point fourth quarter burst from the Lions to nip the Jaguars, and 13 points coupled with a shutout in the second half from the Giants to beat the Bears.

The coup de grace was delivered by the Dolphins though, a team that managed to convert zero first downs while getting shutout over three-plus quarters versus the Rams. Down 10-0 with just six minutes left, quarterback Ryan Tannehill expertly directed two touchdown drives to save the winning ticket – and $85,095 for one fortunate bettor.

PokerStars Looking at Lucrative Indian Market in Light of Australian Legislation

When Minister for Communications Mitch Fifield introduced the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill (IGAB) of 2016 into Australia’s Parliament on November 10, the outline for online poker players Down Under was clear.

Under the provisions of the IGAB, which serves to supplement Australia’s existing Interactive Gambling Act of 2001, the only online gambling activity that would remain protected as a legal pursuit would be sports betting. Online poker rooms, along with casino-style games, lotteries, and other activities involving wagers on contests of skill and chance would be classified as illegal should the IGAB pass through Parliament.

And with that passage considered imminent, due to the ascendancy of anti-gambling Senator Nick Xenophon to the role of parliamentary “kingmaker” in Australia’s recent elections, PokerStars – the worldwide leader in online poker services – has been forced to reassess the company’s viability in the Australian marketplace.

Per a statement released by Minister for Human Services Alan Tudge, a staunch ally of the so-called Xenophon Team, the IGAB is constructed to clamp down on current violations of Australian law while strengthening consumer protections:

“Currently hundreds of illegal gambling services are easily accessible on the internet and we know that people are more likely to get into trouble online – 2.7% of interactive gamblers are problem gamblers compared to 0.9% of all gamblers.

We expect online wagering providers to meet community expectations. The tougher laws will seriously disrupt illegal offshore providers from acting unscrupulously or targeting vulnerable Australians. The government is committed to taking tougher action against illegal offshore wagering providers and this bill does exactly that.”

In response, PokerStars CFO Daniel Sebag was wary when appraising the Australian market during a recent conference call with shareholders to discuss third-quarter earnings:

“We continuously monitor the regulatory environments of the countries in which we currently operate and in which we hope to operate.

In Australia, we currently offer poker and are reviewing the applicability of proposed legislation to player versus player games of skill. At this time, it would appear likely that if the legislation passes, we would block players from Australia. As we do not offer casino sportsbook in Australia, it currently contributes to about 2.5 percent of our revenues.”

If the company was so inclined, PokerStars would eventually be able to apply with Australian regulators as a licensed offshore sportsbook provider, with no poker room component, but Amaya executives appear to be considering alternatives.

PokerStars CEO Rafi Ashkenazi issued a statement to shareholders in which he outlined the company’s planned pivot from Australia to India:

“India could be a greater opportunity compared to Australia, and when we look at the player base it would be a bigger one. However, from the purchasing power point of view, India is quite different from Australia.

We estimate the market in India to be anywhere between $80 million to $150 million a year. So, it will be bigger than Australia eventually, of course. But it will take time to build up this level of revenues from India.”

The Indian launch isn’t expected until the middle of 2017, but considering a recent report by the India Times which found that over 50,000 players there are currently using startups like Adda52, Poker-Baazi, and Spartan Poker, that conservative timeframe could certainly be accelerated.

Betting Guide for Week 14 of the College Football Season

Week 14 of the college football season means conference championship games. And per usual, the crowning of conference champs this Friday and Saturday will go a long way towards deciding the four teams which will compete for the National Championship.

The long-awaited “Selection Sunday” takes place one day after the dust settles, as the College Football Playoff Committee must select the four best teams in the country for postseason berths.

On Tuesday – following a pivotal Saturday of action which saw then third-ranked Michigan (10-2) fall to its bitter rivals, second-ranked Ohio State (11-1) in a 30-27 double-overtime classic – committee members largely hewed close to the vest with their penultimate set of rankings.

Top-ranked Alabama (12-0) remained in the same spot they’ve occupied all year, after finishing off another undefeated regular season under Nick Saban by downing then 16th-ranked Auburn (8-4) in a 30-12 Iron Bowl snoozer.

The aforementioned Buckeyes secured their second-place ranking by beating the Wolverines, who were dropped down to fifth in the Playoff Rankings to find themselves on the outside looking in.

Clemson (11-1) rose to the third slot on the strength of a 56-7 rout over South Carolina (6-6), and Washington (11-1) snuck into the fourth and final postseason position by virtue of a 45-17 rout over Washington State (8-4).

This weekend will decide if that order shifts at all, and after last Saturday’s epic Big Ten clash, the conference’s real championship game may prove to be pivotal. Respectively, Wisconsin (10-2) and Penn State (10-2) sit in the sixth and seventh Playoff positions, and they’ll face one another to crown the Big Ten’s champ.

The Badgers won the West division, while the Nittany Lions used their head-to-head win over the Buckeyes to break an 8-1 conference record logjam in the East, which is why Ohio State is sitting this one out despite holding a better overall record.

Conventional wisdom says Ohio State is a lock for the postseason, but if Penn State can win big here, their previous win over the Buckeyes just might be enough to nudge them past Washington and their weak Pac-12 schedule. The game takes place at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, and Wisconsin comes in as 2.5-point consensus favorites.

Those Huskies have a championship game of their own to worry about, as Washington battles eighth-ranked Colorado (10-2) at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. Washington absolutely must win, and probably with style points to boot, to preserve its current Playoff spot, and even a win might not be enough to sway the Committee away from the Big Ten darlings.

The Buffaloes are rolling, riding a six-game winning streak, but the North division winners have won all five Pac-12 Championship Game matchups thus far, and online sportsbook Bovada likes that streak to continue – with Washington listed as big 8-point favorites.

Clemson squares off against 23rd-ranked Virginia Tech (9-3) in the ACC Championship Game, at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, and once again any stumble could doom their postseason hopes. The Tigers alternate between blowouts and nail-biters, so this game could go either way, but Bovada believes motivation matters, with Clemson as big 10.5-point favorites.

Finally, Alabama plays 15th-ranked Florida (8-3) to settle the SEC Championship, held at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. But even with a loss, the defending National Champions are considered a lock to make the Playoff. The stakes aren’t high, but the spread is, as Bovada has tabbed the Crimson Tide as massive 24-point favorites.

Betting Guide for Week 13 of the NFL Season

The month of December is the NFL’s regular season proving ground, as the four games played during that time can define a team’s entire year.

The league’s history books are littered with flash in the pan pretenders, teams that reeled off nice records through November, before wilting when the temperatures dropped and the pressure rose.

So suffice to say, Week 13 will prove to be pivotal for the 20 or so teams still holding onto postseason aspirations.

December’s first slate of games features several games with potential impact on the playoff picture, but before covering the middle of the pack, the league’s leaders are steadily separating themselves from the pack.

As of November 29, only three teams enjoy odds of better than 10 to 1 of winning Super Bowl 51 at season’s end, per the Bovada sportsbook.

The AFC’s New England Patriots (9-2) are the consensus favorites at +240, while two NFC challengers in the Dallas Cowboys (10-1) and the Seattle Seahawks (7-3-1) are tabbed at +400 and +750, respectively. The upstart Oakland Raiders (9-2) are straddling the line at +1000, but from there the league is cluttered with also-rans offering 12 to 1 odds or worse on becoming the champions.

Dallas plays another Thursday game following last week’s 31-26 Thanksgiving Day thriller over the Washington Redskins (6-4-1), as the Cowboys visit the Minnesota Vikings (6-5) to start the week. These teams are trending in opposite directions, and Bovada likes Dallas’ 5-0 road record more than Minnesota’s 4-1 run at home, so the Cowboys have been installed as 4-point road favorites.

New England hosts the Los Angeles Rams (4-7), a team that head coach Jeff Fisher infamously declared “isn’t going 7-9” during the preseason filming of HBO’s Hard Knocks series. The Rams will need to go 4-1 the rest of the way to fulfill Fisher’s prediction, but a road date against the Patriots doesn’t offer much chance to pursue that path. The consensus among bookmakers puts New England as major 13-point home favorites, so the Rams will likely need one of Fisher’s patented 9-6 slop-fests in order to survive.

Seattle just suffered one of the strangest defeats of the Pete Carroll era – not as strange as the end zone interception from Super Bowl 49, mind you, but close – falling 15-6 on the road to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-5).

The Seahawks were missing a slew of key players last Sunday though, and defensive end Michael Bennett, free safety Earl Thomas, and cornerback DeShawn Shead are all expected back in the fold for this Sunday’s home game against the Carolina Panthers (4-7). Seattle is sporting its usual gaudy record on home turf at 5-0, so Bovada gives them the full touchdown advantage as 7-point favorites over the disappointing Panthers.

Among games that may decide division winners and wild card spots, the Baltimore Ravens (6-5) host the surging Miami Dolphins (7-4) in a game that could decide the AFC’s sixth seed. The Dolphins currently own that playoff berth, by virtue of a six-game winning streak, but they’ll face a stern test from the December-tested Ravens. The consensus line is essentially even, giving Baltimore slightly more than the standard home field advantage at -3.5 points.

The Atlanta Falcons (7-4) are consensus 3.5-point home favorites over the Kansas City Chiefs (8-3), and the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5) are consensus 6-point home favorites despite facing a New York Giants (8-3) team with two more victories.