Rumors swirled over the past week in the online gaming community about possible talks between giants PartyGaming and Bwin. A merger between the companies could take both companies to a new level of gaming dominance, as their combined worth is being reported as more than £2 billion. But both companies dismissed the rumors, noting that discussions are common in the industry. Nevertheless, speculation continues.
According to the Times Online, many months of talks between PartyGaming and Bwin make sense and would benefit both companies. The mixing of a sports betting giant with a worldwide poker and casino company holds gains for each should the two merge.
The Gibraltar-based PartyGaming not only has a solid grip on the online poker and casino market, but in the past year it made peace with the United States Department of Justice by paying a $105 million fine for illegally providing online gaming services to U.S. customers in past years. Many say that PartyGaming is now poised to reenter the American market should favorable legislation pass through the U.S. Congress. In addition, a PartyGaming subsidiary recently purchased WPT Enterprises and now has substantial pull in the live tournament poker industry as well.
The Austrian-based Bwin, on the other hand, has a firm grasp on the sports betting market, though its poker endeavors of late have also been successful. And in the past year, Bwin has teamed up with the World Poker Tour to host tournaments in cities like Venice, Italy, placing Bwin in a position to become a contender in the live tournament market as well as online. With the WPT as one of the common denominators between Bwin and PartyGaming, the two had every reason to begin talks of consolidation without raising many eyebrows…until word got out that the meetings were becoming more regular.
With PartyGaming currently valued at approximately £1 billion and Bwin coming in around €1.3 billion, a merger could be one of the largest that the gaming industry has ever seen.