UK Gaming Companies Establish Partnerships With US Casino Operators

Internet bingo players in the United States may get a very pleasant surprise this year; legal internet bingo! In December the DOJ gave the gaming industry an early Christmas present in the form of a memo that has opened the door to the possibility of legal internet gambling in the United States. Individual states are now free to offer internet gambling to residents and several states have already announced plans to offer internet gaming to residents. Several large gaming companies in the UK are following developments in the US very closely.

Bwin gaming which operates Party Poker is teaming up with Boyd Gaming and MGM Resorts and plan to offer online poker if and when online gaming becomes legal throughout the United States. Recently 888 Holdings announced a partnership with Caesars Interactive Entertainment to extend their UK software licensing agreement that will allow them to provide real money gaming in the US. Party Poker withdrew from the US market after the passage of anti gambling legislation in 2006. Current US laws prohibit banks, credit card companies and third party payment processors from handing gambling related transactions. Jim Ryan co-CEO of Bwin.party said the company is ready to re enter the US poker market. Ryan stated “We have been putting in place the foundation, if you will, to re-enter the market.” Since Bwin violated no US laws the company is in a good position to obtain US licenses for its online gambling operations. Ryan said that he believes Party Poker’s decision to exit the US market was correct but it was difficult to see competitors overtake Party Poker in profits and site traffic rankings. Ryan stated “Did we sit back and watch in envy and knowing full well that we (had) had 50 percent of the market at that point? Perhaps, but we never questioned our decision.”

Although most of the focus is centered on poker companies like 888 have a presence in the internet bingo industry. Washington DC had planned on offering internet bingo and poker to residents but suddenly reversed course because of questions surrounding the agreement between the district and an offshore gaming company. Currently Nevada is leading the industry and is offering licenses to internet gaming companies. Bwin was formed in 2011 when Party Gaming, the parent of Party Poker, merged with Bwin Interactive Entertainment. The company is now the largest publicly traded online gaming company.

At the present time it appears that online gambling will be offered on a state by state basis. Since this is a presidential election year most gaming experts say that no action will be taken regarding online gaming until next year. In the meantime internet bingo players in the US are hoping that their state will offer legal online bingo and poker.