The company has been making big moves and seems to have more in the works, but the announcement that PartyGaming will be the official provider of online poker to the French market could prove to be an important one. The partnership between European betting operation PMU and PartyGaming was revealed on Friday, March 26, and the multi-year agreement will allow PartyGaming to be the exclusive source of online poker for the state-controlled French system.
The French government controls which gaming and betting operators are available to its citizens, and PMU (Pari Mutual Urbain) is the official French bookmaking company and one of the largest of its kind in all of Europe. The deal with PartyGaming allows it to be the only one to provide online poker services to the French, and it will be done through an integration with PMU’s accounting system but with the use of the PartyGaming software and network of players. Residents of France wishing to use the online poker service will eventually be able to access it at PartyPoker.fr. Both companies are in the process of procuring government licenses to run the operation.
PartyGaming CEO Jim Ryan told the Financial Times, “The objective is to have the largest poker liquidity pool in France.” He intends to pursue other business deals in the French market as well, and the opportunity to advertise in the French market through the PMU deal and others is key to its expansion in that country.
The exact terms of the deal between PartyGaming and PMU were not disclosed, but a Numis analyst told the Financial Times that the deal could add £5 million to its 2011 earnings, though others argue that the taxes to be paid to the French government could outweigh any potential revenue.
PartyGaming executives hope to see the PartyPoker site open to the French market prior to the start of the World Cup in June of 2010.