Bwin.party announced a move on Monday that should put them firmly on top once online poker is finally legalized in the United Stated. A partnership was announced that will see the company join forces with both MGM Resorts International and Boyd gaming to form an online gaming company.
The purpose of the new company would be to setup a network of online gaming sites in the United States once legalization occurs. As part of the deal, each casino owned by MGM and Boyd would have the option to setup a website for their casino using a platform currently based on the bwin platform. Bwin will license its technology to the companies for this purpose This is commonly known as a skin in the online poker world.
Jim Murren, chief of MGM resorts, stated that, “MGM is proud to have bwin.party as our partner as they have the assets and experience that, combined with our brands, can ensure a secure, fair and entertaining online poker experience.”
The deal had apparently been in the works for the last 18 months and the new company will be divided up with bwin.party owning 65% of the company, while MGM retains 25% ownership and Boyd retains 10%.
Of the deal, the co-CEO of bwin,party Jim Ryan, stated, “As leaders in the industry, we are confident in our ability to deliver a safe gaming experience of the highest regulatory integrity with brands consumers have grown to know and trust over many decades.”
This move will essentially make bwin.party one of the most powerful companies in the online poker world once the new deal is complete. PartyPoker is currently the 2nd largest online poker site in the world after PokerStars and the Ongame Network, owned by bwin.party, is currently the 5th largest in the world.
In addition, this move should prove highly beneficial to MGM and Boyd and their bids to create casino skins. Bwin has always been technologically at the forefront of online poker and have been among the first sites to enter the mobile poker market. Bwin’s expertise and track record in this area may help the sites keep an edge on other emerging online sites.
With this announcement, we are beginning to get a picture of what the online poker landscape will be once poker in the US is legalized. Your big three will win up being PokerStars, the unnamed company announced Monday, and Caesars Entertainment. This is assuming PokerStars will work out a deal to be able to reenter the US market.
Each will have their strengths. PokerStars will have the brand identity as well as the established gaming. The bwin.party venture will have rights to the World Poker Tour and will definitely depend on that as a selling point. Caesars has the World Series of Poker. Everyone else will have to jockey for position behind these three.
As mentioned earlier, the new company has not been named as of yet. Of course, everything reported on in this article is dependant on online legislation happening, and that is a process that is likely still years away from becoming a reality.