It has been a rough week for investors of Amaya Gaming, the parent company of PokerStarsand Full Tilt. On Tuesday, shares of Amaya, which are traded in Toronto under the symbol AYA, tanked 28% after the company cut its revenue and earnings estimates. On Wednesday at the time of writing, shares continued to slide, dropping another 4% to CAD $20.25. Talk about a bad beat.
There are a few factors in play. As the Financial Timesexplained, “Amaya said its full-year revenues would be 11% to 14% lower than its previous range of CAD $1.446 billion to CAD $1.564 billion. It said net earnings would be 5% to 12% lower than it had guided.” Perhaps not surprisingly, the stock sank by over 30% as a result of the slashed estimates.
Also working against Amaya is the state of the US Dollar, which has been gaining strength recently. According to the same news report, Amaya “said it had been badly hit by the strength of the Dollar, which it said had caused an ‘approximate 19% decline in the purchasing power of our customer base’ and which had an impact [that was] ‘higher than we previously anticipated.'”
In case you’re wondering why the US Dollar would have any effect on the non-US player base of Amaya, a separate Financial Times article explained, “Roughly 80% of Amaya’s revenue comes from European countries, while the vast majority of game play occurs in US Dollars. So, whenever the US Dollar strengthens, the purchasing power of European players declines.” Currently, the US Dollar and the Euro are very similar in value.
PokerStars’ daily fantasy sports product, StarsDraft, abandoned all but four statesin mid-October just over a month after it launched, although the company claimed there would not be a “negative financial impact” from the move. PokerStars has also withdrawn from Portugaland Greecebecause of regulatory issues in the former and an economic bloodbath in the latter, further cutting revenue.
According to PokerScout, PokerStars and Full Tilt have a combined seven-day running average of 15,250 real money ring game players. PokerStars is over six times larger than the next closest site, 888, in terms of cash game volume. According to CardPlayer, “PokerStars has comprised 68% of the online poker market in 2015, while Full Tilt has controlled 3%… That company said that the number of registered customers was roughly 97 million.”
On Twitter, Global Poker Index chief Alex Dreyfus was encouraging investors to buy shares of Amaya given the downturn. Dreyfus Tweeted, “Poker players are not the only individuals losing % with PokerStars; their shareholders [are]too. Company lost $1 billion value today. BUY… I’d advise SNE Pokerstars to buy AYA shares. It will compensate their rakeback in 2016.” Dreyfus is referring to the cut in benefits to PokerStars’ high-stakes players that was announced in recent days.
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