December 14, 2009 (CAP Newswire) – Over the weekend, the industry was abuzz with a rumor that Bwin and PartyGaming — among the world’s biggest and best-known online gaming brands — were considering a merger.

The news came as a surprise, and Bwin's report today that the merger was just that, a rumor, felt something like a return to sanity. Bwin went on to say that it was not in “advanced merger” talks with any company.

Even so, stock prices for both brands jumped up in early trading on Monday. Bwin’s price has risen about 4 percent, and “PartyGaming has come off its best levels and is now up 3.3p at 259.8p having touched 268p,” reports the Guardian.

The rumors have since been chalked up to informal chatter on industry websites, but a lot of observers see it as something of a well-informed rumor, since the industry, which is currently rather segmented , is expected to undergo widespread consolidation in the years to come — especially as nations ease their anti-online casino restrictions. (Bwin is very well known in Europe, where its brand adorns the shirts of football players, but it's less well known in the U.S. And since PartyGaming seems to be on a U.S.-friendly strategy at the moment, a potential partnership between the two companies made sense on those grounds.)

Will this inevitable consolidation be good or bad for affiliates? On one hand, growing brand recognition in the online gaming world certainly helps to attract players. On the other hand, as companies get bigger and acquire more resources, they may be more likely to downplay affiliates and focus on acquiring players on their own.

Click here to read the report at the Guardian UK. For info on Bwin's online gaming affiliate program, click here. For details on PartyGaming's online gaming affiliate program, click here.

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