In the wake of the U.S. Congress' ratification of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), PartyGaming, Plc., owner of Empire Poker and PartyPoker.com, the world's largest Internet poker site, issued a statement declaring their intention to prohibit American poker players and gamblers from placing real money wagers at PartyPoker.com and all other PartyGaming, Plc. online gambling venues if President George W. Bush signs the UIGEA into law this month.
In a statement issued on its Web site, PartyGaming Plc., said:
"After taking extensive legal advice, the Board of PartyGaming, Plc. has concluded that the new legislation, if signed into law, will make it practically impossible to provide U.S. residents with access to its real money poker and other real money gaming sites.
"As a result of this development, the Board of PartyGaming has determined that if the President signs the Act into law, the Company will suspend all real money gaming business with U.S. residents, and such suspension will continue indefinitely, subject to clarification of the interpretation and enforcement of U.S. law and the impact on financial institutions of this and other related legislation."
PartyGaming, Plc. also warned that the firm's financial performance will be affected if the legislation in signed into law, as it will be forced to re-align its cost base to accommodate the changed business environment. This, in turn, will result in the group's financial performance falling significantly short of 2006-2007 forecasts.
"This development is a significant setback for our company, our shareholders, our players and our industry," said Mitch Garber, CEO of PartyGaming, Plc. "While U.S. horse race betting, state lotteries, fantasy contests and certain other online gaming activities have been exclusively protected under the new law, we are disappointed that the popularity and skill of poker in particular have not also been specifically protected.
"The Board respects the laws of the U.S. government, and will continue to analyze their applicability, but also continues to believe that a regulatory framework for online gaming, including poker and casino gaming, is the only sustainable long term solution."
The firm said that access to its online play money gaming sites will remain unaffected for U.S. customers, while real money wagering will remain unaffected for all non-U.S. customers.
A further report will be provided by the firm on Oct. 20, 2006. For more information, please visit www.partygaming.com.