Shuffle Master to Acquire Ongame Network
Shuffle Master has announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the Ongame Network. The Ongame Network is currently owned by BWIN.Party but was considered a “surplus asset” after the merger between BWIN and Party Gaming in 2011. While BWIN poker players still play on the Ongame Network, it is expected that players will be migrated to the Party Poker platform before the Shuffle Master acquisition of the network. Several notable skins that will remain on the Ongame Network include Betfair, Coral, and Betsafe.
Shuffle Master has already applied for an online poker service provider’s license in Nevada. It is likely that the Ongame Network software will be used in Nevada and other states in the future. BWIN.Party has entered into an agreement with MGM Resorts and Boyd Gaming to offer an online poker platform to the casino companies.
Shuffle Master is paying €19,500,000 in cash for the Ongame Network. There will also be an additional €10,000,000 in potential cash payments to BWIN.Party. These payments will be made on a sliding scale, based on how far legalized online poker comes in the U.S. during the five years after the closing of the sale. The deal could take as long as nine months to close due to regulatory approval required on both ends.
Shuffle Master is not the first U.S. based software company to buy an existing online poker room or network. In 2011, International Game Technology, better known as IGT, purchased the Entraction Network. The European facing network was recently renamed the IGT Poker Network. Bally Technologies recently purchased the business to business end of Chili Poker after Chili Poker and the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas announced a partnership for a free online poker room. Chili Poker players were moved to the iPoker skin Poker770 last week.
Our list of all Nevada online poker related acquisitions can be found here.