03/31/2015 08:44 EDT | Updated 05/31/2015 05:59 EDT

Amaya looks to double business in five years as it expands, adds sports betting

MONTREAL - Amaya is looking to double its online gambling business in five years as it expands its recently acquired PokerStars brand to new markets and begins to add sports betting and fantasy sports.

The target comes just eight months after the company acquired the world's largest online poker franchise in a US$4.9-billion deal that transformed its business.

"2014 was a year of transition," CEO David Baazov said Tuesday during a conference call.

He said Amaya (TSX:AYA) plans to achieve its goals by entering new markets in Asia, South America and the U.S., creating demand through marketing and promotions, and adding products that attract will new players or bring back lapsed enthusiasts.

It started by taking the first bets Tuesday on a sports betting platform being tested in select markets. Plans are to roll out sports betting over the next two quarters.

The company is also preparing to introduce fantasy sports wagering ahead of the fall National Football League season. Fantasy sports is a statistical game where selected players from real teams compete against each other on paper.

During its first full quarter operating PokerStars and Full-Tilt Poker, Amaya lost $26.7 million or 20 cents per share, compared with a loss of $6.8 million or eight cents per share in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Revenues were $368.6 million, nearly 10 times higher than the $37 million recorded a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, the company said it earned $85.7 million or 42 cents per diluted share, up from $11.1 million or 12 cents per share a year earlier.

Amaya was expected to earned 40 cents per share in adjusted profits on $381 million of revenues, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

The company said Tuesday its 2015 revenue should range between $1.62 billion and $1.74 billion, with 90 per cent coming from online gambling.

Amaya is preparing to list its share on the Nasdaq Global Select Market by October in addition to its listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The company announced Monday it plans to sell its Cadillac Jack casino game business for $476 million.

Last week, it announced that it will form a new public company called Innova Gaming Group that will own Diamond Game, which designs and develops games for the North American lottery sector.