Amaya, which recently renamed itself as The Stars Group, should be familiar to anyone who follows the gaming industry at all. The Canadian company acquired poker giant PokerStars for $4.9b in 2014 a groundbreaking deal that forever changed the industry.
Amaya was actually a casino equipment supplier before it acquired PokerStars so it came as no surprise that the company decided to utilize the PokerStars platform to create an online casino of its own called PokerStars Casino.
Using the considerable resources at its hand Amaya has a consumer-facing site but also creates a small amount of casino games for other casinos. To make matters even more confusing, the Amaya online casino utilizes software from all the major developers. It can be very difficult to tell whether you are actually playing an Amaya game. As one of the most licensed gaming companies in the world, Amaya is renowned for its reliability and security.
PokerStars was a trend setter for the online poker industry and Amaya has attempted to bring that approach to the online casino world as well. Of course the casino world already had giants such as Microgaming and NetEnt but Amaya has been steadily building its own niche in the casino sector. Anyone who has fond memories of playing on PokerStars will likely be interested in the company’s casino efforts although thus far there hasn’t been that much influence from the iconic poker site.
It’s difficult to categorize Amaya because it has its hands in so many different pies but in this overview we’re looking at the company as a software developer.
All of Amaya’s in-house designed slots are made to for instant play, which means you can play them in any browser. It’s important to note, however, that some of the games that Amaya offers are still running on the old flash standard, which is challenge for mobile devices. Fortunately mobile users will be happy to know that Amaya does offer some HTML5 games that run smoothly on any mobile device from an Android tablet to an iPhone. Of course all the games offered by Amaya run great on a desktop.
You might think that every game on Amaya is of the cutting edge variety but the company actually offers a large number of classic reels that should make old-school players feel right at home.
One of the other nice things about Amaya software is that players are free to try all of their games for no charge. Many of the casino software developers have jumped on board with this trend and it’s certainly a good one. It means that players can try all the games on a particular platform before signing up or spending a dime.
Of course Amaya is also the parent company of world-famous poker sites PokerStars and Full Tilt so you might think some of that award-winning tech would seep into the slots and, in a way, it has. You can play Amaya slots directly from the PokerStars client in certain jurisdictions, which is a huge benefit for players who like poker and casino.
For the time being Amaya has been focused solely on slots when it comes to casino. That might seem strange considering the company’s other major product — PokerStars — seems like it would give them a platform to create killer table games. For some reason Amaya has not gone down that path and instead contracts other software developers to create games for its own PokerStars Casino.
There’s no telling if that will change in the future but right now it’s only slots that are developed in-house at Amaya.
Amaya has an interesting assortment of home grown slots that includes some classic-looking games as well as new-school favorites. Amaya actually scored the lucrative DC license several years ago so it created a number of games based on high-profile franchises like Batman, Justice League, Superman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and the Flash.
One area that Amaya has pioneered is the minimum million dollar jackpot available on Millionaire’s Island. Millionaires Island was the first casino game developed in house by Amaya and the company decided to celebrate by developing the first-ever $1m minimum jackpot. The game has already awarded $1m numerous times including two times in the first 27 days of operation for over $2.9m.
Amaya frequently utilizes Aristocrat to design some of their other slots so there’s a good chance you’ll see games like Wild Panda, Pompeii and Queen of the Nile under the Amaya banner.
Surprisingly Amaya does not offer any table games that were designed in house.
Amaya partnered with Estonian developer HoGaming to create a live casino in 2012. The live casino offers Roulette, Blackjack and Baccarat.
Amaya is the parent company of world-famous poker site PokerStars. Generally regarded as the biggest online poker site in the world, PokerStars has been the flag bearer for the entire online poker industry over the years with hundreds of thousands of players. If you ever want to play poker then Amaya certainly has you covered for that.
These days Amaya is a lot more than just poker and casino, however, as they also have the BetStars brand, which offers sports betting. The company also has PokerStars Live, which hosts special events around the world. The company has started to include a few casino events, such as Blackjack tournaments, which is very nice to see. There’s very little you can’t play on Amaya.
Amaya has an interesting history that includes one of the biggest acquisitions in the history of online gaming. Amaya itself was founded in 2001 in Montreal, Canada. The company would go on to become one of the biggest casino equipment suppliers in the world.
In 2014 Amaya pulled off one of the most spectacular feats in the history of online gaming by purchasing the Rational Group, owner of PokerStars and Full Tilt, for a staggering $4.9b. At the time PokerStars had been in a holding pattern since the DOJ forced the company out of the USA during online poker’s so-called Black Friday of 2010. Long-time PokerStars owners Mark and Isai Scheinberg had been wanting to step away from running the company and they finally found a taker in Amaya Gaming.
Since acquiring PokerStars, Amaya has been busy integrating the brand into the rest of the company’s structure and quickly started an online casino and sports betting site. Amaya has also dabbled with creating its own online games although for the most part remains content to contract other casino software developers.
In recent years Amaya has streamlined the entire organization by putting everything under The Stars Group banner. That means that even the name Amaya will likely be retired over the next few years as the Stars Group takes precedence.
Amaya is a giant in the online gaming world. There’s no doubt about that. For poker players the company represents one of the most seamless ways to get online poker and online casino wrapped in one neat package.
That’s not to say Amaya is perfect, however. The company has surprisingly not pioneered much in the way of online casino games. When we first heard that Amaya was going to start a PokerStars casino we were hopeful that it would use some of the amazing technology that runs the poker client for casino. That hasn’t really been the case and Amaya hasn’t produced all that many memorable games.
There’s a good chance that changes in the future as the company fully embraces the online casino world. For now, we definitely recommend Amaya for poker players that want to try casino but for other players there are software developers that offer more compelling products.