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  • Bwin.Party Returns to America

    Friday, October 21st, 2011 by Nadia

The Co-CEO of Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment has spent three weeks in America, trying to get investors for the world’s largest online gambling company which does public trading. Ryan made a presentation to be screened at these meetings and it included a chart listing the best online poker sites available in the U.S. PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker were mentioned, only to be struck out by a firm red line. Till recently, both sites were the preferred choice of most U.S. based online poker aficionados.

Bwin.Party’s Poker Plans

When interviewed, Ryan said that the red lines marked the organizations which had been indicted by the government. It is highly unlikely that these brands will return to the U.S. He also said that the brand which has the maximum consumer awareness is PartyPoker.

Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment owns World Poker Tour and PartyPoker. These are two of the top brands in online poker. As they do not provide the option of playing for real money in America, they were not shut down by the Department of Justice. However, according to Ryan, the company’s focus is now on the U.S. They are negotiating tie ups with two companies in the U.S. and will continue with this even though there is no guarantee that the country will legalize online gaming entirely. Ryan believes that it is more likely that online poker will be legalized at a state level than a national level.

In the Past

PartyGaming merged with Bwin early in 2011 and spent years on the sidelines, watching Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars rake in the cash in the U.S. markets. This was especially difficult for PartyGaming, which was the biggest of the online gambling companies until the Government passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (2006). After that, PartyGaming left the U.S. market and its stock value plummeted. Full Tilt and Poker Stars, however, did not leave the market and continued running their U.S. sites. They expanded on a global basis by using the liquidity gained from the U.S. markets.

After admitting that their U.S site had been violating the law for years, PartyGaming signed an agreement with the U.S. Attorney (Manhattan) to prevent being prosecuted. They also had to pay $105 million. In the mean time, Full Tilt and PokerStars kept its U.S. operations up and running, claiming that it didn’t violate any laws. They did this by citing opinions given by important lawyers in the U.S. Most people felt that PartyGaming had been unnecessarily cautious in their dealings. These doubts remained until April of 2011, when Manhattan’s federal prosecutors closed down both companies’ U.S. sites and called them illegal businesses.

Bwin.Party’s Current Status

However, it will be a long journey before Bwin.Party will be able to reclaim its title. It now operates in taxed and regulated European markets and continues to compete against companies like PokerStars. In 2011 alone, the company’s stock fell by 50%. It also suffered some loss in Germany where the government recently passed an online gambling ban. Only in late June, after Full Tilt Poker’s European license was suspended, did Bwin.Party’s efforts begin to make a difference. PartyPoker is currently the second largest online poker site with approximately 4,150 players in cash-games at any time. However, PokerStars is still in the lead with 22,800 players.

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