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PartyGaming Acquires World Poker Tour (WPT)


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Right now the world’s largest online gambling have their sights firmly set on
the United States, a country where online gambling is currently banned, but
should in the not-too-distant future become legalized and regulated, opening the
way for companies like PartyGaming to attract U.S. players.

And in this vain, the London Stock Exchange-listed firm recently strengthened
its position for a potential re-entry into the lucrative U.S. online gambling
market by acquiring the assets of leading U.S. poker tournament organizer WPT
Enterprises, creator and owner of the World Poker Tour (WPT) brand.

The acquisition, worth an estimated £7.3m, has sent a strong signal to the
United States that once online gambling has been legalized, PartyGaming – which
owns and operates many successful online gambling websites including renowned
online poker room PartyPoker – will be poised to re-enter the U.S.

PartyGaming executives must have popping champagne at the acquisition,
particularly as WPT Enterprises reportedly turned down an even larger counter
offer by U.S. land gambling giant, Mandalay Media, which owns and operates
amongst others interests, the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

WPT Enterprises executives rejected Mandalay Media’s offer in favour of
PartyGaming’s asset deal. Apart from the valuable WPT brand, the deal also
secured PartyGaming the rights to land poker events across the U.S. and Europe,
16,500 paying subscribers, and 150 hours of TV poker programming.

Said PartyGaming CEO, Jim Ryan, ‘This acquisition has brought together two of
the world’s biggest brands in online and offline (land) poker. It will provide
PartyGaming with many more opportunities to utilize a database of 12 million
U.S. players prior to any ending of the U.S. ban on internet gambling.’

When news of the deal broke, PartyGaming’s shares rose 5.6p to 236.7p on the
London Stock Exchange (LSE).

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