Amaya Gaming, an international gambling company based in Canada, has hired Paul Leggett, who served as the COO and CEO for Absolute Poker in the past, as its online gambling head. Paul Bertilsson, Amaya’s former online gambling head, will continue as its consultant.
It was eGaming Review, which first reported last week that Amaya has appointed Leggett as its online gambling head. Later, Pokerfuse confirmed the news although Amaya did not release any official statement about the appointment.
As the company’s online gambling head, Leggett will monitor the activities of the company’s latest acquisitions, especially Ongame Network. According to eGaming Review, Leggett will now be the head of the online division of Amaya, taking responsibility for all its online gambling activities.
Although Pokerfuse requested confirmation regarding the appointment, neither Amaya nor Leggett responded. Leggett has not made any public statements regarding his responsibilities and title. He has not even agreed to give an interview.
The roles of Ongame Network and Leggett in the US are sure to invite criticism, especially in states that have included “bad actor” clauses in their online gambling bills. This is because Leggett was the COO, CEO, and owner of several online poker companies that had continued operating in the US in spite of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006. A list of the companies Leggett has been involved with includes Absolute Poker, Tokwiro Enterprises, and UB.com, which used to operate as Ultimate Bet.
Absolute Poker stopped functioning in the US after the federal crackdown of April 2011, but did not return the deposits of players all over the world. Throughout the federal government crackdown process, Leggett was mentioned in poker news reports as the COO of UB.com.
The Ongame Network, which now belongs to Amaya Gaming, is one of the oldest networks in the world. It used to function in the US before the federal government passed the UIGEA and hosted skins such as PokerRoom.com, Bwin Poker, and Hollywood Poker. The original owner and operator of Ongame Network was BetAndWin, and in 2011, Ongame became part of Bwin.party Digital Entertainment Plc when Bwin merged with Party Gaming.
Bwin.party began looking for a buyer for Ongame Network as it considered the network as a surplus asset. Although Shuffle Master initially expressed interest in acquiring Ongame, it terminated the deal and later Amaya acquired the network. Shuffle Master has now signed a deal with Amaya so that it can use Ongame software.