Thursday August 18,2011 : The mounting media coverage on the possible legalization of internet gambling or poker in the United States has triggered a series of as yet unconfirmed rumours regarding US companies taking over already successful European online groups.
The motivation for the rumours is understandable; if the lucrative American online gambling or poker market is unlocked by lawmakers, major US gambling groups may seek a fast and easier entry by acquiring well established companies with the expertise and experience to make quick progress….and which have the additional attraction of a current international player base.
The most persistent of the rumours appeared in the UK newspaper, the Independent, this week, which reported that speculation on a possible takeover of the Bwin.party digital group by US giant Wynn Resorts was rife.
The report reasoned that the 45 percent fall in the company's share price that has taken place since the merger of Bwin and Party Gaming in March this year made it an attractive target…should online gambling be legalised in the USA.
It is known that the aggressive owner of Wynn Resorts, Steve Wynn, is interested in the US online poker market – earlier this year he was involved in a partnership agreement with Pokerstars.com, an arrangement conditional on internet poker becoming federally legalised.
That very promising venture was dropped in the wake of the Black Friday enforcement debacle, in which Pokerstars execs were named.
The rumours of a Wynn interest in Bwin.party digital lifted the share price slightly midweek.
There has also been speculation that a takeover or merger bid for Bwin.party digital may originate nearer to home – from the British group William Hill plc, which is reputed to be actively expanding, especially in its successful online operations under the William Hill Online banner.
None of the companies mentioned in the reports has so far commented, and the rumours remain unconfirmed and subject to speculation.