Major Online Casino Merger on Track

In just a couple of months, online gambling giants PartyGaming and bwin will have completed their process of merging, PartyGaming executives have announced.

“The proposed merger remains on course to complete during March 2011,” the company said in a press release on its site.

“The proposed merger with bwin remains on-track to complete at the end of the first quarter and should place the combined group in a strong position to take advantage of the changing regulatory landscape in Europe given its leadership positions across all key product verticals,” clarified PartyGaming Chief Executive Jim Ryan in the release.

What kind of an effect should casino affiliates expect to see from this merger? Most likely, the two companies will continue their affiliate efforts as separate brands, and continue to use their existing platforms — particularly given how complicated it would be to merge them. For example, bwin’s online poker site uses the Ongame network, while PartyPoker uses its own proprietary software.

But it wouldn’t be far-fetched to expect the management and the interface of each affiliate program to merge, much like Chipleader manages the poker affiliate programs for both Absolute Poker and UltimateBet. If that happens, would that mean that affiliates lose their existing players under either brand? That remains to be seen — but it wouldn’t be a bad idea for affiliates to start voicing their concerns to their respective affiliate managers now rather than later.

In its statement, PartyGaming also threw in a few optimistic words about entering the U.S. market, should it have the opportunity. “Should the requisite legislation be enacted, the Group is well advanced in discussions with licensed companies in the US that could create substantial value for the group’s shareholders.”