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Bwin-PartyGaming Chief: “No Competitor Out There who has a Scale to Attack”

Written by:
Aaron Goldstein
Published on:
Mar/31/2011
Bwin-PartyGaming

With Austria’s biggest sports betting company, bwin, and the world’s third largest Internet poker room, PartyGaming, completing their merger Thursday (May 30, 2011) and trading for the first time as a single entity, CEO Jim Ryan noted that the new company will be better able to insulate its PartyPoker brand from privately held US-facing behemoth’s PokerStars and Full Tilt’s march on Europe.  This would come from combining the number of poker players and the amounts staked, he said.  PokerStars is already cashing in heavily on the newly opened France and Italy markets. 

In an interview with the Financial Times of London, Ryan was quoted as saying:  “I don’t know that there’s any competitor out there who has a scale to attack and be successful in each of those markets over the course of the next couple of years.  This is what this merger does for us.”

That won’t be an easy task.  PokerStars Italian and French poker sites rank 6th and 8th, respectively, while its primary US-facing card room ranks at the top, with nearly 10 times the number of “real cash” players that PartyGaming currently has.   Bwin operates the Ongame subsidiary, which ranks 5th overall with an average of less than 3000 “real cash” players on at any given time. 

Ongame currently hosts Betfair’s Internet poker room but that company has expressed concerns about staying on the network now that the merger is complete.  Still, the prospect of moving to another network so soon after joining Ongame just eight months ago might not be wise, especially since company officials have expressed satisfaction with Ongame up to this point. 

“Some of our higher-value customers didn’t make the move across when we migrated, but we remain of the belief it was the right thing to do for us,” said Betair CFO Stephen Morana.

The new company will operate as bwin.party digital entertainment plc. under the symbol BPTY.  It gained 6.6 to 200p on its first day of trading.

- Aaron Goldstein, Gambling911.com

 

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