Party Poker look like they might be building bridges once again with their American audience with the news, today, that they are open to approaches to be bought by a Las Vegas Casino. Chief Executive Mitch Garber said in an interview at the EIG 2007 i-Gaming conference that "they would like to hear from all the 'Major Players' in Las Vegas".
There is no word as yet as to whether any particular casinos are in talks with the Gibraltar-based group with a market cap of GBP 1.23bn. Analysts are saying that the two most likely candidates are the Bellagio and the Mirage. "Online gaming is currently prohibited in the US. However PartyGaming is listed in the UK where EU legislation allows online gaming. It gives the casinos direct online access to the UK market," said an analyst in a Financial Times article yesterday.
Party Poker famously pulled out of the US market prematurely after the plans for the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) were announced. Their share price plummeted and most experts thought they would become extinct. They did, however, make a fantastic resurgence by committing to European and Asian Markets.
Previous reports suggested that 888.com were in line to buy PartyGaming never materialised. Now this open approach back to US soil is an odd one considering the current climate, but an indication that Party Poker want to return to the global force they once were.
The real question is what would an acquisition by a Las Vegas Casino do to the landscape of both US and non-US online poker? What changes would be made to the European experience of Party Poker and perhaps more interesting, what influence would this have on online gaming in the US and the UIGEA?
[I] Party Poker is still more than legal in the UK so sign up today