Former Amaya Inc. CEO, David Baazov, Makes Donation to Tel Aviv University
By Space Coast Daily // April 25, 2023
The Canadian entrepreneur David Baazov, who was called the ‘King of Online Gambling’ by Forbes, is known for having founded the online gaming company Amaya Inc. and turned it into a billion-dollar business.
However, he is also known for giving back to the community through generous donations.
At the age of one, David Baazov and his family moved from Haifa, Israel to Montreal, Canada, and the Baazovs struggled to make ends meet. As the family was of Jewish descent, the Jewish-Orthodox community in Montreal supported the Baazovs financially and made sure that they got a good start to their new lives.
In his teenage years, David Baazov tried out different business ideas, and a computer-reselling firm created by him became his first success. The company made a deal with the Montreal Public Library to sell computers to them, and within five years, the firm was worth $20 million.
At the age of 25, David Baazov sold his computer-reselling business and developed an electronic poker table, which became the beginning of Amaya Inc.
He served as the CEO of Amaya Inc., which went public on the Toronto Venture Exchange in 2010 with a revenue of $6 million.
Amaya Inc. began acquiring online gambling firms and developers such as Cadillac Jack, CryptoLogic and Chartwell Technology, as the company changed its focus to online gaming.
David Baazov and Amaya Inc. caught its biggest fish in 2014, when they bought Rational Group, the owner of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, for $4.9 billion.
David Baazov hopes donation will inspire others to follow suit
The acquisition made people in the online gaming industry call David Baazov the ‘King of Online Gambling,’ and he became an inspiration to young entrepreneurs trying to break into the field.
Despite his success, David Baazov never forgot that he and his own family received financial help at the beginning of their Canadian adventure. Therefore, he has made multiple donations to various institutions over the years.
David Baazov’s philanthropic work includes a donation made to Tel Aviv University (TAU) in 2022. As a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and the millions of Ukrainian refugees it yielded, Tel Aviv University initiated an emergency fellowship drive to bring graduate students and researchers from Ukraine to the Israeli university.
“The response by our TAU friends around the world has been heartwarming. These donors came to our side to support this important initiative. The Fund is already making a difference: About 15 young Ukrainian researchers are set to arrive at TAU in the coming days, while another 150 have applied,” President of Tel Aviv University, Ariel Porat, said in March 2022.
Within minutes of the launch of the university’s fund, David Baazov made a donation in the memory of his late father, Joseph Baazov. When he made the donation, he said that he hoped that his swift decision to contribute would inspire other people to do the same.
Tel Aviv University President: “The steps we are taking are modest”
Within two weeks of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Tel Aviv University launched its Emergency Fellowship Fund for Ukrainian Graduate Students and a fundraising drive to support the Ukrainian students and researchers coming to the Israeli university.
Because of the Russian invasion, Ukrainians saw their daily lives, including university studies, crumble. In order to enable students to continue their studies, Tel Aviv University initiated its fellowship fund with the help of David Baazov and Miles S. Nadal, among others.
No matter the subject studied, all Ukrainian citizens enrolled at Ukrainian universities could apply to spend a full semester at Tel Aviv University.
“The steps we are taking are admittedly modest. However, we hope that other academic institutions, both in Israel and worldwide, will follow our example, and lend a helping hand to the Ukrainian people in this dire situation,” President of Tel Aviv University, Ariel Porat, stated at the launch of the project.
David Baazov: Donations, philanthropy and Amaya Inc. aside
The donation to Tel Aviv University is just one of David Baazov’s philanthropic efforts.
Recently, he also donated one million CAD to Migdal Ohr Canada, a non-profit organization that helps improve the lives of at-risk children in Israel.
Apart from making donations, David Baazov has spent the last decade involved in various entrepreneurial ventures, investing and providing guidance to companies on emerging technologies and markets.
In 2003, he was recognized by The Globe & Mail, a Toronto-based newspaper, as one of the top 10 Canadian entrepreneurs to keep an eye on.