Another New Amaya Exec Signifies Move Away Toward Casino at PokerStars Parent Company, from Poker

Jerry Bowskill, now CTO of Amaya

Dr. Jerry Bowskill (pictured) joins Amaya as part of a new-look team seeking to move past the mess left behind by founder and former CEO David Baazov. (Image: LinkedIn)

Amaya has appointed Jerry Bowskill to be its new Chief Technology Officer, as the biggest poker company in the world continues to develop its iGaming interests beyond poker.

Bowskill is the latest casino industry player to join the Amaya team. His addition comes three months after CEO Rafi Ashkenazi announced plans to expand the parent company of PokerStars, including changing its name to the Stars Group.

Talking to Bloomberg back in March, Ashkenazi said the second half of 2017 would give him a chance to “grow” the company and “not necessarily organically.” With potential takeovers in the offing, having Bowskill in the role of CTO reflects Amaya’s focus on expanding the breadth of its own game offerings.

Bowskill Game

A PhD-educated technologist, comes with an extensive gaming background that includes a stretch with Scientific Games, where he served as CTO and chief architect of the internet product division for the Las Vegas-based gaming equipment manufacturer to Amaya.

Bowskill will take charge of developers and 300 technologists a publicly traded company, at Amaya. Part of his role will be to expand Amaya’s current suite of products, as well take part in just about any future takeovers or mergers which are part of Amaya’s non-organic growth plans.

He’s the latest in a significant shakeup on top of Amaya’s executive offices. Under Ashkenazi, who ascended to CEO upon the scandal-clouded departure of his predecessor, David Baazov, Amaya has been building an accomplished team to help expand its gaming reach.

The drafting of Bowskill follows recruitment of former William Hill exec Robin Chhabra to serve as chief corporate development officer, and ex-Mr. Green CEO Bo Wänghammar, who’ll serve as managing director for casino products.

Several executives who came from PokerStars to Amaya are leaving. Among them, head of public relations, Michael Josem, left in April after being with PokerStars since 2008.

Scandal Dampens Growth

Baazov founded Amaya in 2005, and also the Montreal-based company remained a bit player in the gaming industry until the acquisition of PokerStars and Full Tilt. This $4.9 billion purchase suddenly put the high school dropout at the helm of the largest poker company in the world, and one of the biggest online gaming companies on the globe.

Amaya’s stated intent at the time was to use the PokerStars and Full Tilt brands to create a universal betting platform across multiple gaming sectors, including casino and sports. That dream lasted for just several months before Canadian financial regulators as well as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police showed up at Amaya’s door in late 2014 with a warrant.

Growth plans were thrown into chaos as Baazov got embroiled in the biggest insider trading scandal in Canadian history over the acquisition of PokerStars and Full Tilt, and he’d step down as CEO in August 2016.

Yet even while under the threat of criminal charges, Baazov still managed to put together a consortium of foreign investors and former board members in this period in a bid to buy back Amaya for $2.8 billion and take the company private again.

That deal fell through in December 2016. Since then, Ashkenazi has been seeking new direction for the company, as it continues down a path of expanding the future Stars Group’s reach and offerings in gaming, even at the expense of losing a reputation that used to be synonymous with the best in poker.

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