• PartyGaming plans £500m move into sports betting

    02 July 2006


    PartyGaming is set to unveil plans to expand into the sports betting arena.

    The poker firm is to begin a series of acquisitions to be funded with the proceeds of a bond issue that could raise as much as £500m. The first purchase is rumoured to be a privately-owned European operator, and will be relatively small in the context of the fund-raising.

    PartyGaming’s share price has been hit by attempts of conservative Senators in the USto ban, or at least restrict, online gambling in the US, where about 80% of the group’s customers live.

    In a similar stance to sports betting giants such as Ladbrokes, it is understood that the company has decided not to accept sports bets from the US in an effort to limit confrontations with the anti-online gambling lobby.

    The football World Cup has highlighted the need for expansion into sports betting with most online poker operators seeing a fall in activity on their sites this month, as European online poker players have tuned in to the football.

    The World Cup – despite being less profitable than bookmakers had hoped because of the lack of surprise results – has also been a huge marketing boost for sports betting companies.

    Sports betting will continue the diversification of PartyGaming after they successfully encouraged their players to play the new blackjack game and have also launched a backgammon site.

    Those efforts have relied upon so-called ‘shared purse’ technology, which allows players to channel their gambling on all games through one account. A new sports betting facility is likely to be put onto the same platform.

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