Tuesday, November 1, 2011 : More detail on agreement with MGM and Boyd
Bwin.party digital expanded Wednesday on its internet poker agreement with US corporates MGM International Resorts and Boyd Gaming, saying the deal was central to bwin.party's strategy for entering the US market, subject to appropriate US legalization being passed.
"While there is no certainty that online poker legalization will be enacted in the US, bwin.party is preparing to enter into a preliminary suitability review in the State of Nevada," the announcement notes.
The agreements with MGM and Boyd are subject to enabling legalization and regulatory approval and include the following elements:
1. Business-To-Consumer (‘B2C’) Joint Venture
In the event that suitable federal legalization for online poker is enacted in the US, bwin.party, MGM and Boyd will form a jointly-owned US-based company (‘Federal NewCo’) with bwin.party owning 65 percent, MGM owning 25 percent and Boyd owning 10 percent. MGM and Boyd will have representation on the Federal NewCo board. The funding required by Federal NewCo will be met by bwin.party, MGM and Boyd pro-rata with their respective shareholdings.
bwin.party will supply Federal NewCo with its primary online poker brands for use in the US – including PartyPoker and World Poker Tour. bwin.party will also supply a poker platform and all other required support services. The platform will offer players a safe, secure and fair gaming environment and will address problem and underage gambling as well as protect against other activities such as money laundering.
Should the US regulate online poker on a state-by-state basis, a stand-alone company will be established to develop each state opportunity (‘State NewCo’). The shareholders and shareholdings in a State NewCo may vary, depending on the state concerned and reflecting the contributions to be made by each shareholder. In addition to bwin.party, shareholders in a State Newco may include MGM, Boyd and other partners.
2. Business-to-Business (‘B2B’) Agreements
Bwin.party will also enter into two separate, 15-year business-to-business agreements with MGM and Boyd that will enable them to offer real money online poker services under their own brands in the US using the bwin.party technology platform and associated services. Under the terms of these agreements both MGM and Boyd are exclusive to bwin.party and the Bwin.party will receive a share of the online poker revenue generated by those services.
3. Preliminary Suitability Review
Bwin.party is preparing to enter into a preliminary suitability review with the Nevada Gaming Control Board in order to secure an advanced finding of suitability in anticipation of future US-facing real money poker opportunities.
Commenting on today’s announcement, Jim Ryan and Norbert Teufelberger, the Co-CEOs of bwin.party, said:
“Our strategy has been designed to address any and all legislative outcomes, whether federal or state-by-state. We are particularly excited to be working with MGM and Boyd. Combining their significant assets and regulatory expertise with the strength of our PartyPoker and World Poker Tour brands, all supported by our in-house technology, makes us perfectly positioned for any future opening of the US online poker market.”
Jim Murren, Chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International, said:
"MGM has long been supportive of Federal legalization to strengthen UIGEA and provide the needed regulations and consumer protections for online poker. MGM is proud to have bwin.party as our partner as they have the assets and experience that, combined with our brands, can ensure a secure, fair and entertaining online poker experience.”
Keith Smith, President and CEO of Boyd Gaming, said:
“We believe the right approach to offering legal online poker in the United States is through a federal regulatory structure that ensures the games are conducted with the greatest possible integrity and security. Should Congress enact legalization to legalise Internet poker, this agreement will allow us to partner with the world’s most experienced and prestigious online operator to offer a secure, fair and entertaining experience for players in the United States.”