Who are the Key Figures in the Online Gambling World?

Wheel of Chance II - The Big Wheel Slots

Online gambling has become immensely popular over the past several years, and with the introduction of new and even more innovative services and products for desktop and now mobile device which has crated a surge of Internet gambling, its interesting to look at this new exciting world and some of the key people who have contributed and will continue to contribute towards its further growth. Meet some of the powerful people in the industry:

The Scheinberg Family

The Scheinbergs have played a huge roll online poker as well as internet gambling. Isai and Mark Scheinberg are a father and son Israeli-Canadian team, who are well known as the founders and the former owners of PokerStars and also the former owners of Full Tilt Poker. Currently these two websites are the most popular and most profitable online poker rooms in the world.

Both Scheinbergs have a technological background and very wide general knowledge which has contributed to their success in creating an online gambling empire, of a sort, which is not surprising.

PokerStars, founded in 2001, was initially head-quartered in Costa Rica. The Scheinbergs had a majority stake in the company that owned the online card room, Rational Enterprises, at a later stage PokerStars' headquarters were then moved to the Isle of Man.

Rational Group, as it is now known, became a prosperous business and had millions of registered players. During 2011, card room's operations in the United States were shut down which led to a criminal indictment filed against Isai Scheinberg. He was accused of letting his company continue providing gambling services while the courts were still testing the interpretation of the online gambling laws in the country.

Then in 2012, the US epartment of Justice and PokerStars came to an agreement that the card room would pay an amount of $731 million to settle the charges. However, it did not admit to any wrongdoing. Part of the settlement, Isai Scheinberg, was barred from taking any executive posts in the Rational Group, and as party of the agreement the company had to purchase the rival card room Full Tilt Poker, who were facing the same charges.

Despite these legal challenges as well as other issues, the Scheinbergs have faced over the past decade, they have managed to create a brand that has changed the face of online poker as also the gambling industry as a whole.

David Baazov

David Baazov was chairman of Amaya In., who is a little-known Canadian company that has several assets in the gambling industry. After August 2014, Mr. Baazov (34) has contributed his magic to ensured that Amaya is no longer an obscure company.

During In August 2014, Amaya purchased the Isle of Man company Rational Group, this included PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, for $4.9 billion. This deal was the most expensive in the history of online gambling. Thus Mr. Baazov and his company became owners of the world's largest poker rooms and majority stake Owner of Rational Group, Mark Scheinberg, became one of the world's youngest billionaires.

In the months prior to the takeover announcement, Mr. Baazov had a difficult task convincing the former owners of the card rooms, several hesitant bankers, and the top Wall Street investors that this deal would be profitable for all of the involved parties.

In the end, Amaya became owners of both PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, after they sold $1.7 billion of their stock securing a $1-billion investment through Blackstone's GSO credit division.

As an aside, GSO has never in its history invested such a large amount of money on a single deal.

This achievement of Mr. Baazov's was unprecedented, as was able to do the unthinkable in a relatively short period of time. At the time of purchase of Rational Group, Amaya was just a publicly traded company boosting an annual revenue of no more than $150 million. Yet they were able to take over the larger Isle of Man-based gambling giant who was generating an average revenue of $1.1 billion per year.

Now with their new owner, PokerStars and Full Tilt's have a better chance of being able to return to online online gambling in the USA. The US lawmakers and interested parties in this matter has previously pointed out that the world's largest poker rooms would need a new owner, if they wanted to succeed in having their operations re-introduced in the United States.

The first steps towards a return were made in October. Amaya announced that the New Jersey Division of the Gaming Enforcement had given them the green light to PokerStars and Full Tilt to launch their operations within the state's borders, and that this is likely to happen during the first half of 2016.

Players must not expect a nation-wide relaunch of online poker soon as there are a many people, and some quite influential, that have been working hard at preventing this happening, one of whom is the casino mogul Sheldon Adelson.

Teddy Sagi

Billionaire Israel-born businessman, Teddy Sagi, is considered to be a major figure in the online gambling world together with their software developing company Playtech, which was founded in 1999 and since then has gradually grown into one of the largest software developers as well as being a provider of services and products for a market that is constantly growing in he internet gambling industry.

Playtech is listed on the London Stock Exchange, and providing their B2B customers with growing variety of online applications that include poker, bingo, casino, live gaming and sports betting. What's more, the company also offers a cross-platform management system that is able to allow international gambling operators take advantage of their innovative tools to maximize their yield, for cross-selling opportunities, as wells as player loyalty. In the past 16 years, Playtech has partnered with many of the major gambling companies, such as, William Hill, Bet365, Betfair, Paddy Power, and many more.

Mr. Sagi has built a software development giant who boosts operations that are worth more than $500 million. Over the years, Mr. Sagi sold a greater portion of shares in the company in order to fund more acquisitions and now currently holds a 33.3% stake in it.

Recently Playtech announced that that they were making their first foray into online Forex trading when they purchased Mr. Sagi's TradeFX for €208 million. The company has also expressed an interest in purchasing Plus500 for £460 million and AvaTrade for £69 million. But, both deals, were never completed due to some regulatory concerns. Despite these terminated takeovers, Playtech still expects to establish themselves in online Forex trading in a constantly competitive and growing online gambling market.


The three above-mentioned people are just a few of many influential and powerful figures who have contributed to the online gambling's current state, they have turn it into a billion-dollar industry. All of these people have innumerable skills, with a natural flair for business, and a very strong will to achieve their goals. The presence of such people into the world of internet gambling see this growing market growing ever more popular in future.