World’s largest online gaming brand, now online
After months of anticipation, rumors, and regulatory legwork, the merger between online gaming giants bwin and PartyGaming has been implemented. The new company, bwin.party, hit the stock exchange on Friday, April 1.
And according to all accounts, the company — now the world’s largest online gambling brand — has its sights set on entering the U.S. market. (Prior to the merger, neither bwin nor PartyGaming accepted U.S. players.)
That puts it in a tight race with some other online poker brands looking to do the same. “PartyPoker recently dropped to fourth in the PokerScout.com online traffic rankings behind the iPoker Network and industry leaders PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, which both recently partnered with Las Vegas-based casinos in March,” writes Brett Collson at Poker News Daily.
“PokerStars and Wynn Resorts announced a strategic partnership last week, while Full Tilt teamed up with Station Casinos’ owners on Thursday to support the Federal legislation of online poker,” Collson adds.
Bwin.party now online
“It was a rollercoaster,” said Jim Ryan, PartyGaming’s CEO per the Financial Times. “[There were] issues to do with valuation, issues to do with structure.”
Ryan will now share the leadership role with Bwin’s Norbert Teufelberger, per the Financial Times article.
Ryan describes the merger as a necessity, a crucial step in keeping both companies competitive in a changing age. Both were “industry dinosaurs”, as Teufelberger puts it in the Financial Times article.
“PartyGaming had poker, better cost control and a stronger grip on the US market, where it dominated until the US legal clampdown in 2006 forced out several European operators,” the article continues. “Bwin had sports betting, brand-building expertise and better knowledge of the fragmented European markets.”
Gaming networks remain
And these two online brands are going to keep playing to their strengths. The companies may now be merged, but the gaming rooms for which they’re best known remain largely the same (at least, for now).
PartyPoker will remain as it is, as will bwin’s elaborate sports betting branding franchise, which is strongly networked throughout Europe.
Does size matter?
With all the talk of bwin.party being the largest online gaming firm, the Financial Times points out that “both William Hill and Ladbrokes outrank it when revenues and earnings from their betting shops are included.”
So, the new company may not represent an insurmountable threat to other gambling firms. But that isn’t going to stop it from heping to trigger an even greater trend towards mergers and consolidations in the online gaming field, as more and more brands combine market share and revenue base to become more competitive in a market that’s getting more international every day.
The new company’s name for the London Stock Exchange is BPTY.