Google Eyes Bwin Party Acquisition

Recent rumors circulating in the UK say that search engine giant Google is interested in acquiring Gibraltar based Bwin Party Entertainment. Bwin operates several online casinos, poker and internet bingo sites. The rumors first appeared in the Daily Mail’s This is Money blog. According to the blog Google is interested in moving quickly to acquire Bwin before the launch of real money internet gambling in New Jersey. The rumors gave Bwin’s shares a slight bump in global markets. New Jersey plans to launch real money gaming in November.

New Jersey’s interactive gaming law was backed by Republican Governor and possible 2016 presidential candidate Chris Christie. Christie said he signed the law to stimulate the state’s struggling casino industry in Atlantic City. Atlantic City casinos have been pressured by competition in neighboring states such as Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania. The New Jersey law will permit several games in addition to poker. For the time being Nevada has restricted internet gaming to poker only.

In New Jersey companies seeking an interactive gaming license must partner with an Atlantic City casino. All gaming servers must be located in Atlantic City to meet constitutional requirements in New Jersey. Once online gambling is launched in New Jersey the payoff for Bwin and other internet gaming operators could be huge. Bwin has partnered with the upscale Borgata casino. The casino is one of the most luxurious in Atlantic City and in addition to gambling features top notch entertainment. The Daily Mail said that Google is prepared to pay 200p per share to acquire Bwin.

Until recently the internet gaming market in the US has been largely unregulated. Because online gambling is in a legal grey area Americans are forced to play at unregulated and unlicensed offshore sites. The US market for legal internet gambling remains untested. Currently Americans spend about $6 billion annually playing online. Games include internet bingo, poker, blackjack, slots and other casino and table games. Nevada was the first state to launch a live real money gaming site in April.

Currently Bwin is having software issues at the company’s Party Poker site. Following a software update intended to fix the problem players are still plagued with troubles like crashes for players using Windows 8 and broken links. Bwin says they are aware of the issues and are working to quickly resolve them. The recent software woes have frustrated players and traffic to the site has dropped. If Google acquires Bwin things could turn around very quickly.