Before the founder of the online gaming company Amaya Inc., David Baazov, changed the industry and led the world’s biggest online gambling firm in the world, he lived a very different life where money was scarce.
David Baazov was born in 1980 in Israel, where he lived until the age of one. He spent the first year of his life in Haifa in northern Israel with his family, which has Georgian-Jewish roots.
In 1981, the Baazovs moved to Montreal, Canada, where they were financially supported by the Jewish-Orthodox community, as money was not what the family had most of.
As a young man, David Baazov tried out various business ideas, which eventually led to the establishment of a computer-reselling company. At first, the business did not go well, but with time, David Baazov managed to land a deal with the Montreal Public Library to sell computers to them.
Within five years of signing the contract with the library, the computer-reselling firm became worth $20 million. The success whetted the young entrepreneur’s appetite. He wanted to try out other ideas in a different field.
Leading Amaya Inc. – the world’s largest online gambling company
In 2005, 25-year-old David Baazov sold his computer-reselling company to focus on developing an electronic poker table, which could be sold to cruise ships and to gambling sites on land.
The electronic poker table eventually led to the foundation of Amaya Inc., which would later make David Baazov a household name in the world of online gaming.
With him on board as the CEO and a revenue of $6 million, Amaya Inc. went public on the Toronto Venture Exchange in 2010. The former American presidential candidate Wesley Clark joined the firm’s board, and Amaya Inc. raised close to $5 million with its initial IPO (initial public offering).
Online gaming eventually became David Baazov’s focal point, and he began buying small gambling software developers. Among them were Chartwell Technology and CryptoLogic. The companies that Amaya Inc. acquired became bigger and bigger as Cadillac Jack also made it to the David Baazov-led firm’s list of purchases.
In 2014, Amaya Inc. made a move that would end up changing the world of online gaming. The firm bought Rational Group, which owned the gambling giants Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars, for $4.9 billion.
The acquisition made Amaya Inc. the world’s largest online gambling company, and David Baazov was praised for his strategic vision.
David Baazov takes Amaya Inc. to new heights
In 2015, David Baazov and Amaya Inc. succeeded in opening a door for PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker that had been shut since 2011.
Due to a legal battle, PokerStars’ American website was shut down in 2011. Four years later, with the new owner in charge, PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker were allowed to operate internet gambling services in New Jersey.
The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) was the entity that issued the approval.
New Jersey was the largest American state to regulate online gambling at the time, so it was seen as a historic green light given to PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker.
After the news of the gaming giants’ reentrance in New Jersey broke, the Amaya Inc. shares rose by 14%.
Other business ventures by David Baazov
David Baazov was not one to rest on his laurels, and the success of Amaya Inc. and its acquisitions once again brought out the entrepreneurial spirit in him. He, therefore, founded FIT Ventures, a multi-national, multi-sector private equity firm.
The company invested in brand-new and also seasoned businesses and entrepreneurs and helped them with business development, M&A, financing and strategy, among other things.
UVeye is one of the companies that raised money through FIT Ventures. UVeye is an Israeli startup that develops vision and machine learning technology, which enables security threats to be detected by scanning vehicles that pass by.
Giving back to the community
While David Baazov went from being financially supported by the Jewish-Orthodox community in Montreal to being the CEO of the world’s biggest online gambling company, it has been important to him to share the fruits of his success.
Therefore, he has donated money to various charities over the years.
In 2022, he made a donation to Tel Aviv University’s Emergency Fellowship Fund for Ukrainian Graduate Students, which brought students and researchers from war-torn Ukraine to the Israeli campus.
David Baazov also recently donated one million CAD to Migdal Ohr, a non-profit organization that provides at-risk children in Israel with housing, education and medical care, among other things.
In recent years, he has become increasingly focused on donating to various charities, and he is currently looking for his next business venture.