Partygaming Intent on Entering U.S Market

PartyGaming one of the leading online gaming operators with brands such as PartyCasino and PartyPoker.  Those who monitor the online gaming industry have for some time been speculating that PartyGaming is making waves to enter the United States market once it’s legalized and regulated online gambling.  First it settled with the US Department of Justice (DoJ) , paid a hefty fine and cleared the air.  Having no legal liabilities it will be one of the prime considerations for the issue of licenses in the United States.  Partygaming also entered into a merger with bwin thus forming the largest listed online gaming company.

However, PartyGaming received a set- back when the original owners and major shareholders Russ De Leon and Ruth Parasol refused to settle with the DoJ last week.  As a result PartyGaming left the United States market, apart from the company the then prime stake holders De Leon, Parasol and Dikshit were individually and separately held liable for conducting illegal online gaming operations in America.  Dikshit  settled and paid his fines even prior to the PartyGaming settlement.  Industry observers are pondering the fact that the De Leon and Parasol’s outright refusal to settle this act could prevent PartyGaming from receiving an American license when the time comes.

Jim Ryan of PartyGaming indicated that the merger agreement with bwin includes a provision that if a shareholder is hampering the company from receiving a licens,e the company could obligate the shareholder to liquidate his or her stake.  He pointed out that this clause was specifically intended with regard to the above situation and clears the last hurdle for entering the US market.  Ryan added, “Now all we need is regulation.”

Ryan mentions three indicators that should pave the way for regulated online gaming in the United States.  The first is a need for revenue generation both at a government level and a land-based operator level.  The second is the Harrah’sdecision to enter the online gambling industry. This has led to its competitors searching for suitable online gaming operators to tie up with.  The third indicator is the acquisition of online gaming assets by GTech and their involvement with state run lotteries.

Ryan said that he was alert to the possibility that PartyGaming may not be licensed as a B2C operator.  The nett result is that PartyGaming may not be able to offer online casino and online poker services directly to American players.  Chances are that PartyGaming will either appear on the American scene as a B2B or B2G player.  Ryan revealed that PartyGaming  initiated discussionss with 12 land-based operators with the intention of leveraging their brands into the online world.



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