By Joss Wood, Rakeback.com Poker News Staff Writer
Party Poker’s merger with Bwin got a big thumbs up from investors partly because of the possibility of the US online poker market re-opening. As hopes of new legislation have receded, the merged company share price has fallen around 50% in 2011. Co-CEO Jim Ryan is not deterred, and has been spending time in the US planning for every eventuality.
Jim sees various options for Party Poker’s return to the US. He believes the fact that Party Poker left the US market after the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act and paid over $100 million in a settlement to the Department of Justice means that they will have an advantage over the other big online rooms, namely PokerStars.
Even though it has been out of the market for five years, the Party Poker brand remains powerful. It is the strength of this brand that Jim Ryan is using to negotiate possible future partnerships for when the law does change.
He argues that it is likely that US land based casinos may well get preferential treatment under any new laws, whether State or Federal. A partnership with Party Poker would enable any US casino to launch online poker with the benefit of a known and trusted brand and tried and tested software.
Currently, Party Poker is the second most popular online poker site after PokerStars. They suffered enormously by withdrawing from the US. As a company listed on the FTSE in London, they weren’t able to take the legal risks that PokerStars and Full Tilt were prepared to take. The risk takers saw their profits rise enormously, but now both are under indictment.
Party Poker’s strategy cost them a fortune in the short term, but in the long-run, we may see it pay off, and we all know that poker is about the long-run. Like Party Poker, US players will be hoping that this long-run is a short time in coming.
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