Bwin CEO Jim Ryan

Bwin and PartyPoker are merging in what company officials are calling an effort to grab the number two spot in the online poker market. The move comes on the heels of declining revenues and an increasingly competitive online poker marketplace.

Company co-CEO Jim Ryan announced the plan in an a recent conference call to investors. The new strategy is a four point plan that’s based, largely, on combining the liquidity of Bwin’s biggest brands onto the Party Poker Network.

That move would make Party Poker the second largest poker network in the world, a position currently occupied by the iPoker Network. Ryan added that he’s expecting to lose about 10% of his bwin player base during the move, but the increased liquidity of Party Poker will more than compensate for the loss.

Other Bwin Changes

Bwin officials are also making moves to change their brands’ poker ecology by getting a handle on sharks and other experienced players. To that end, they’ll be shutting down high stakes tables where newbies were getting fleeced.

Ryan also said that Bwin will be overhauling the entire PartyPoker look and feel. Here’s what he told EGR about the plan:

Today if you look at one poker site, you’ve seen them all. The lobby experience and the games are consistent. What we are going to do is well beyond changing some of the colours and the lobby experience – we are talking about a completely new approach, one with completely new navigation, new tools and promotion concepts.

What’s Behind the Moves?

Bwin, like many other Euro-centric gaming companies has been hit hard by the economic turmoil that’s been gripping Southern Europe lately. Company revenues for the first half of 2012 were 8%.

There’s also a lot more competition in the poker market thanks to plenty of strategic moves by PokerStars. (Not the least of which was acquiring the assets of the troubled Full Tilt Poker.)

Ryan also mentioned regulatory ring fencing in the European market as motivator for the moves. Other poker companies, including Bodog and Total eGame have recently moved out of parts of the Euromarket, citing similar concerns.

What do you think of Bwin’s big plan? Share your thoughts in the comment section below this article.


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