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Party Poker Angling for Return to US Market
When bwin.Party CEO Jim Ryan envisions Party Poker’s future, he clearly sees it with US poker players at the tables.
According to an interview with Ryan published on Forbes.com, Ryan has been actively seeking partnership deals with at least two US companies over the last five weeks and has been driving a major point home in his presentation:
Full Tilt and PokerStars are out and bwin.Party, the world’s largest publicly-traded online gambling company, is in.
“My focus is on the U.S.” Ryan told Vardi. “Even though there is no guarantee that online gaming will ever regulate in the U.S.”
Ryan has apparently been using a chart for his presentations that has PokerStars and Full Tilt crossed out in red, implying that the recent indictments have made it unlikely either will ever be allowed to do business in the US again.
Of all the online poker brands left, then, Party Poker is the one with the most brand awareness in the US.
After the passing of the UIGEA in 2006, Party Poker was one of several brands to completely withdraw from the US market while PokerStars and Full Tilt continued to allow American players to sign up and play.
Party Poker eventually also came to an agreement with the US Attorney's office, admitting its operations were in violation of US law.
At the time, Party Poker struck a deal to pay the DOJ $105 million in exchange for not being prosecuted.
Party Poker founder Anurag Dikshit also reached a personal agreement with the DOJ to repay over $300 million in return for not being prosecuted.
Given the recent Black Friday indictments of PokerStars, Full Tilt and Ultimate Bet/Absolute Poker, Party Gaming Attorney Behnam Dayanim also suggested that Party Poker “has been vindicated now in getting out when they did and in dealing with the Department of Justice.”
Ryan said he is optimistic about online poker returning to the US with major land-based casinos like MGM and Caesars now involved and actively lobbying in Washington.
Still, Ryan suggests it may be on the state rather than federal level where regulation begins.