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Promoting education: David Baazov donates CA$ 1M to Migdal Ohr

The Canadian businessman and entrepreneur David Baazov is not only known for being the founder of the online gaming company Amaya Inc., but he is also a generous philanthropist.

He recently donated CA$ 1 million to the Canadian branch of the non-profit organization Migdal Ohr, meaning “tower of light” in Hebrew.

The foundation provides various groups of children and youths living in Israel with schooling, housing, medical and dental care, libraries, clothing, vocational training and after-school courses.

The groups include abused children, orphans, new immigrant children, impoverished children, youths in trouble with the law, youths with drug addiction and Ultra-Orthodox Jewish youths that stray from their upbringing.

Migdal Ohr was founded by Rabbi Yitzchak Dovid Grossman in 1972 and is based in Migdal HaEmek in Israel. Over 12,000 at-risk children benefit from Migal Ohr’s programs.

While the organization aims to empower children and youths to break the cycle of poverty and achieve success in their lives, it raises funds and awareness for its programs in Israel through events, campaigns and partnerships.

David Baazov makes donation to Israeli university

David Baazov, who is of Jewish descent and spent the first year of his life in Israel, also made a donation to Tel Aviv University in 2022.

The Israeli university launched an emergency fellowship program to provide graduate students and researchers from Ukraine with the opportunity to study and conduct research at their campus due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and the resulting influx of millions of Ukrainian refugees.

David Baazov donated to Tel Aviv University’s fund in memory of his father, Joseph Baazov, within minutes of its launch. He expressed his desire that his prompt contribution would serve as an inspiration for others to donate as well.

“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,” Ariel Porat, President of Tel Aviv University, said in March 2022.

Ukrainian students sent to Israel amid Russian war

Tel Aviv University responded quickly to the Russian invasion of Ukraine by launching its Emergency Fellowship Fund for Ukrainian Graduate Students and organizing a fundraising campaign to support the Ukrainian students and researchers who would be attending the university.

As a result of the invasion, Ukrainian citizens faced disruption in their daily lives, including their university studies. To assist them in continuing their education, Tel Aviv University established the fellowship fund with the assistance of David Baazov, among others. 

All Ukrainian citizens enrolled in universities, regardless of their area of study, were eligible to apply for 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,” Ariel Porat said as the emergency drive was launched.

David Baazov behind the biggest online gambling company in the world

David Baazov is of Georgian-Jewish descent and lived with his family in Haifa, Israel until they decided to relocate to Montreal, Canada.

After several smaller business ventures, David Baazov founded the online gaming firm Amaya Inc. in 2005 when he was just 25 years old.

At the beginning, he worked on an electronic poker table, but he later put more emphasis on the online gaming part of the company by buying gambling software developers like Chartwell Technology and CryptoLogic. Cadillac Jack was also added to Amaya Inc.’s portfolio along the way.

In 2014, David Baazov made a move that would later make Forbes call him the “king of online gambling.” Amaya Inc. bought Rational Group, which owned PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, for $4.9 billion.

Not only did David Baazov receive a new title from one of the world’s most-read business magazines, but Amaya Inc. also became the largest online gambling company in the world. 

Amaya Inc. opens doors for PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker

Under David Baazov’s leadership, Amaya Inc. was in 2015 granted permission by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) to operate internet gambling in the state under the PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker brands, resulting in a wider reach for both platforms.

This was a significant achievement for the industry, given that PokerStars’ American website had been shut down in 2011 following a legal dispute. 

Despite generating slightly less than $100 million in online gambling revenue in the first eight months of 2015, the approval was considered a major victory, particularly since New Jersey was the largest American state to regulate online gambling at the time.