Jim Ryan of Party Gaming, recently spent three out of five weeks in the USA. He made no bones about the fact that he was punting for online poker partners – this in anticipation of the US Federal Government legalizing these games. Hopefully not in the too distant future!
There are some analysts that say it won’t happen, while others say it will, and although there are always ‘glass-half-full’ and ‘glass-half-empty’ contingents, it is really hard for anyone to say if, when and how it will happen We are living in hope at this point in time, but if anyone one knows what’s going on in the online gambling industry, this person would be Jim Ryan.
Nevertheless, it appears as though he has played his cards well and just like the Bwin.party merger, he has found himself some pretty powerful US JV partners. His rationale is that the industry players to get in on the ground floor will be the ones to hit the ground running, when it comes to US licenses being issued. To this end he has thrown in his hand, and is playing Hold ’em with MGM Resorts International and Boyd Gaming. We are also fairly certain that they will be using the Party Poker brand to punt these games online to potential US members. This brand has got more than the ‘Bwin” feather in its cap to make them the perfect choice; it is also home to the World Poker Tour brand.
In anticipation of online poker, and if we are really lucky – also online gambling – being made legal in the USA, it is Jim Ryan’s intention for the Party brand to take back the number one spot. This is where they stood when they left the country and billions of dollars worth of potential revenue behind, after the promulgation of UIGEA in 2006.
The US online poker market is a very large prize pot indeed, and the online gambling industry goes way, way beyond poker in its ability to generate big revenue. Party and obviously the Boyd and MGM boys must believe they have what it takes to make a big break into this industry. Bwin.party is the largest listed online gambling brand in the world, and this gives them major mainstream credibility. Ryan has coveted the US marketplace for years and has made no excuses for this.
Keith Smith, CEO of Boyd said that it was vital be able to move quickly, to position themselves when or if laws change. They are also keen that their investors see them as being aggressive to achieve position. Boyd owns and operates 17 casinos throughout the US, while MGM Resorts are part or full owners of 18 casino properties. MGM resorts CEO, Jim Murren commented on the JV with the usual platitudes, but he was also very clear about the fact that the Federal Government should address regulation, and get it out of the way very soon. He says they can no longer “wish it away.”