After more than a year of preparation, the merger between online gaming giants BWIN and Party Gaming is finally complete and the new company will be known as ‘bwin.party digital entertainment plc’ and the company will be traded on the London Stock Exchange under the ticker ‘BPTY’ making it the largest publicly traded online gaming company.
Bwin which is perhaps the best known online sportsbook in the world thanks largely to past and present sponsorships of some of the biggest soccer teams including Real Madrid, AC Milan, and FC Bayern Munich whose bwin jerseys have been seen by billions of viewers worldwide.
Party Gaming which has seen two Canadian CEO’s over the past three years, Jim Ryan and the former CEO Mitch Garber, was at the forefront of online poker worldwide with their Party Poker brand poker room up until 2006 when the UIGEA was introduced and the company ceased servicing players from the United States as did many poker rooms. Party has ceded their strong position in the U.S. to companies like PokerStars and Full Tilt who have dominated and is now the 4th largest poker network worldwide. Party Gaming and key founding shareholder Anurag Diksit have paid hundreds of millions of dollars to the U.S. Department of Justice to avoid potential prosecution for its former dealings with American players. Party Poker have made other preparations for a strong re-entry into the lucrative U.S. market which includes purchasing the World Poker Tour which is a signature live tournament with a strong position in the United States.
In addition to strong combined revenue growth which analysts predict will reach $1.2 Billion in 2011, the BWIN Party Merger is expected to achieve significant costs savings $75M as well as achieve new economies of scale and hopefully position the new company in a better position to compete in regulated markets both in Europe and in the United States where online gaming legislation is expected to pass. BWIN is the owner of the Ongame Poker Network which is ranked as the 5th largest poker network by traffic. It is expected that BWIN, who is also the largest poker room on the network, will eventually migrate players onto the Party Poker network in a move to merge liquidities to better compete against rivals PokerStars and FullTilt poker.
The Party Poker Network is rumoured to also extend the invitation to a couple of other major sportsbook operators currently on the Ongame Network in an effort to further boost liquidity even more though such a move would cripple what will be left of the Ongame Network.
This merger is the catalyst that is sure to spark a trend between other gaming companies moving forward.