PartyGaming Poker Revenues Drop

Tony G

Despite posting a $26.5 million net loss in 2009, online poker and casino operator PartyGaming appears confident about its future.

"Whilst the macroeconomic environment remains uncertain, we remain focused on executing our stated strategy and are confident about the Group's prospects," said PartyGaming CEO Jim Ryan.

The Gibraltar-based company, which runs PartyPoker, dropped from a $66.9 million profit in 2008 as total revenue declined 6% to $446.2 million.

The loss is being blamed partly on the $105 million settlement the company signed with the U.S. Attorney's Office in April to avoid prosecution for providing Internet gambling services to U.S. customers prior to the enactment of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).

Under the terms of the agreement, PartyGaming agreed to stay out of the U.S. Internet gambling market under current legislation and is hoping, should the legislation change, it would be in a prime position to move back in.

"We believe that at some point the U.S. will regulate online gaming and we want to be ready to take that opportunity," said Ryan. "We have a number of organizations who are willing to do business with us. It is our ticket back."

While the weakness of the English Pound was a factor in the loss, a fall in poker revenues to $196.7 million from $274.0 million in 2008 also played a large role.

However, Ryan is pointing to the fact revenues have already turned around in the first two months of 2010 as a reason for continued optimism.

New player sign-ups on PartyPoker increased to an average of 1,700 per day with 55,900 active players on the site every day generating average gross daily poker revenues of $709,000 throughout January and February 2010.

"We delivered a solid performance during 2009 which demonstrated the resilience of our business model that continues to generate strong cash flow, even in the most challenging of circumstances," Ryan added. "We plan to do more in 2010 and I believe we are on course to meet our objective of becoming the world's most valuable online gaming company."

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