Yesterday saw Eric Hollreiser, The head of Communications for PokerStars’ parent company, the Rational Group, give an interview running just over 5 minutes on Manx Radio, the local radio station for the Isle of Man. In this interview He went through how the deal would impact the island, as well as the plans for the future, including movement into the US markets. The full interview is in the video below.
The interview is with Manx Radio’s staff news journalist and show host, John Moss. In the interview Hollreiser explained that Amaya approached The Rational Group about a year ago to begin discussing the deal. He also explained the approach was unsolicited, meaning that The Rational Group wasn’t looking for a buyer.
In what should be considered good news, Eric also announced that redundancies are not planned, or expected, following this deal. This should mean that the day to day operations at both PokerStars and Full Tilt should continue on uninterrupted, with no change.
Hollreiser was also at great pains to explain that this deal is all about growth. With Amaya being mainly Business to Business (B2B), while PokerStars is a Business to Consumer (B2C) enterprise, the two seem to synergise well in Hollresier’s opinion.
Eric kept coming back to the fact that this deal was based on the potential growth of the new larger enterprise, which will become the largest publically traded e-gaming company in the world. He also reminded listeners that Amaya currently has US based licences that will speed up the return of PokerStars and Full Tilt to the US market place, and that this was definitely part of the business plan going forward. Hollreiser also talked about the US “regulatory regime,” and how it was only just starting to find it’s feet. He also said that The Rational Group had been part of the conversation surrounding these new regulations, but that the merger with Amaya would certainly make re-entry into the marketplace a lot easier.
In response to being asked about the groups plans for staying engaged with the island’s business and social communities, Hollressier made it very clear that there were no plans to leave the Isle of Man, or to reduce the companies involvement in the social and sporting scenes there. One of other major reasons that The Rational Group will not be leaving the island is to do with the Isle of Man regulatory system. This was apparently one of the biggest reasons PokerStars came to the island to begin with, and they have no plans to change that.
Moss did bring the conversation around to the “moral” aspect of e-gaming, but Hollreiser handled that quickly and efficiently, but I’m sure he’s had a lot of practice over the years.
The whole interview was obviously aimed at reassuring the Isle of Man population that one of the island’s biggest employers wasn’t going to up and leave any time soon, but there were enough titbits for the rest of us to keep us interested. The very fact that Amaya were the ones to begin the deal process is very interesting to me. I have been cynically considering that the current owners of The Rational Group may be looking for options to get around the issues they have been encountering in receiving a licence to play in New Jersey, and the issues surrounding a “Bad Actor” clause in California.
It also confirms that the group has no plans to jump to another regulator, which considering the issues that are still being experienced with other regulators is something that should be celebrated where ever poker players get together. We had all expected that the new mega corporation would move into the US market pretty quickly, but to hear the Head of Communications for The Rational Group confirm that was sweet music to my ears. The US markets have been suffering from poor marketing and software since they launched, and if the standard PokerStars spin on online poker is brought to these markets, it can only be to the benefit of the players. I wait with baited breath to see how quickly this can happen, and my money is on PokerStars being in New Jersey before they crown another WSOP main Event Champion.