Bwin.Party Reveals US Partners
The previous month Bwin.party co-Chief Executive Officer Jim Ryan disclosed that they are dealing with prospective partners for the U.S. internet gambling market, but declined to reveal any names. Lately their American partners made the announcement themselves.
On 31st of October Boyd Gaming Corporation and MGM Resorts International mentioned that they concluded an agreement with European internet gaming giant Bwin.party to design internet poker websites for gamblers from the United States. This depends on when internet poker will be fully legalized and regulated in the United States.
The agreement stipulates that, Bwin.party, Boyd Gaming and MGM Resorts would jointly own an internet gaming company that would offer internet poker to U.S players under Bwin.party’s brands like Party Poker. 65% of the company would be owned by Bwin.party, 25% is owned by MGM Resorts and 10% is owned by Boyd. Boyd Gaming and MGM Resorts have separate agreements enabling them to offer internet gaming poker rooms with their brands through Bwin.party’s technology and gaming platforms.
This business venture would give Bwin.party the keys to American internet gambling market the moment legalization takes place. It is estimated that this market has an annual worth of between $3 billion and $5 billion. Bill Lerner of the Union Gaming Group said that this joint venture would control approximately 20% of the market.
Jim Ryan said, “These arrangements have been put in place to prepare ourselves for the next step. Ultimately, we see a number of MGM and Boyd and Bwin.party websites all acquiring players. We’re laying a foundation for a very important milestone.” Brian Balsbaugh, a Las Vegas-based poker player, said that this business venture makes Ryan the most powerful person in poker.
CEO of Boyd Gaming, Keith Smith said that the individual sites of the stake holders will complement each other since they will increase their liquidity as a unit. Both Smith and MGM Resorts Chairman Jim Murren said Bwin.party is a natural choice as a partner because they have a sterling reputation in European markets. Smith said, “As we narrowed down who we wanted to do business with, compliance was an important part. For our company, integrity is very important.”
Murren said that internet gambling is an alternative to brick and mortar casinos. He feels that managing a traditional casino should be a requirement for attaining an internet casino license in the U.S. In turn it will demonstrate that the venture is supported by a tremendous amount of investment and would weed-out fly by night operators.
However, Smith and Murren refused to comment when internet gambling would be legalized in the United States. On the other hand Deutsche Bank gaming analyst Carlo Santarelli was more forthcoming. He said that in 2012 internet poker has a 50% chance of being legalized. He concluded, “The announcements positions Boyd and MGM Resorts nicely should federal legalization eventually pass.”[addtoany]