Speculation over Future of Ongame Poker NetworkThis was published 09-02-2011
Following numerous rumors within the online poker industry re the impact of the merger between Party Poker and the Austrian group bwin it has now been confirmed by a bwin spokesperson that the merger will probably result in the sale of the Ongame Poker Network.
It is understood that with the structure of the new company, the poker arm of bwin will be considered redundant as it may not fit into the newly merged company’s structure.
Considered to be one of the top ten poker networks in the world, outpacing major networks such as Merge and CEREUS, the Ongame Poker Network would be a very good acquisition for any company hoping to expand its customer base significantly.
Ongame was purchased by bwin, the Austrian gaming giant, for an amount of £474 million in 2005 during which time Ongame was still able to accept players from the United States. However, after the country passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, Ongame Poker Network eventually exited the Unites States market.
Those in the online poker industry are wondering how the newly merged Party Poker and bwin would handle the sale of Ongame as the network would immediately become one of the their largest competitors in the online poker sphere.
Another question is whether a current major network like Full Tilt Poker would be interested in an acquisition and, if so, whether Party / bwin would be prepared to accept offers from companies such as Full Tilt in view of the fact that Party Gaming has a hyper-conservative approach to mollifying United States regulators and is currently attempting to court the United States authorities ahead of a potential entry into a regulated United States market.
Ongame could possibly be the chance that a United States operator is looking for as regulation approaches in that country.
The sale of Online Poker Network will no doubt make interesting reading as the events unfold.