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PokerStars Sells Itself for a Pittance in a Play for U.S. Gamblers

One of the interesting twists in the spread of legal online gambling in the U.S. has been the absence of PokerStars, perhaps the world’s leading poker website. It hasn’t been for lack of trying. PokerStars made a failed attempt to buy a struggling casino last year as a way to begin operating in New Jersey, and since then the company hasn’t been able to secure a license through a partnership with any other physical casino—the only way that online-gambling companies can operate in the state.

Now the Oldford Group, owner of both PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, is changing tacks and selling itself for $4.9 billion to Amaya, a Canadian company a fraction of its size. The purpose of the new deal remains the same: getting into the U.S. market.