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bwin set to Acquire Italian Online Gambling Firm


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Today (Monday, September 7), leading Austrian-based online sports betting and
gambling firm, bwin, announced that it intends to acquire popular Italian
online gambling operation, Gioco Digitale, to gain a foothold in the
lucrative Italian online gambling market which is close to being deregulated.

According to bwin executives, the firm is close to concluding the deal which
will see it acquire 100 percent of Gioco Digitale from its shareholders for an
as yet undisclosed amount. The popular Italian online gambling website offers
online sports betting, online poker, online lottery and other online gaming
facilities.

Last week respected Italian financial newspaper, Finanza & Mercati, reported
that an unknown investor purchased 10 percent of Gioco Digitale for the
equivalent of $2.9 million. Gioco Digitale is Italy’s first independent and
privately owned online gambling operation, and a very popular Italian online
gambling destination.

bwin’s decision to buy Gioco Digitale is based on a law passed by the Italian
government last month that will allow online poker cash games and tournaments,
online sports betting and other online games of chance in the country. This is
great news for Italians and online gambling operators keen to market their
services in Italy.

According to some online gambling experts, many of the world’s biggest online
gambling firms have recognized the potential of Europe’s fragmented online
gambling industry, which is why so many of them are in ‘acquisition mode’.
PartyGaming and 888 Holdings, for instance, have also taken out their check
books of late.

Following bwin’s announcement of the impending acquisition this morning, its
share price rose by 0.7 percent to 27.42 euros. The bwin Group boasts over 20
million registered customers in over 25 core markets. Its holding company, bwin
Interactive Entertainment AG, is listed in the ATX on the Vienna Stock Exchange.

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