The next few months are likely to be an anxious time for Party Gaming's estimated 320 staffers based in Gibraltar, according to reports on the Calida Gaming blog and the Gibraltar Chronicle, which reported this week that the online gambling group is to begin a staff redundancy program soon.
Some reports suggest that as much as a third of the personnel employed by the company will be let go in the next few months as part of a global strategy necessitated by tough competition from rivals that take US business in particular. Party Gaming reversed out of the US market on the passage of the UIGEA in October 2006, and despite some success in rebuilding its business by diversifying into the Asian and European markets, still feels the pressure of competitors who risked remaining active in the US market.
Party's communications director John Shepherd confirmed that there was a redundancy plan and told staff last Wednesday that the company would conduct a sixty-day preliminary consultation to see what posts would be at risk. Shepherd commented that the company had been forced into this position by changes in the gaming market, and he complained of unfair competition from US-active companies.
Company spokesmen this week emphasised that despite the need for the cuts, Party Gaming remains committed to Gibraltar and may introduce new posts at some future stage.
Last week Party Gaming subsidiary Party Poker reported a drop in the number of people playing its poker games over the last two months, prompting downgrades to earnings forecasts. Chief Executive Jim Ryan said the poker business was being adversely impacted by competition from websites which accept players from the United States (see previous InfoPowa reports).
“This represents a continuing competitive threat to listed businesses like Party Gaming that immediately stopped customers in the US from playing or making deposits on any of the group’s real money sites following the enactment of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act,” Ryan said.
Party Gaming is not the first Gibraltar company to announce staff cuts; earlier this year Victor Chandler International (VCI) announced it would be cutting a total of 30 jobs during 2008. The gaming firm set up shop in Gibraltar in 1999 but has expanded beyond sports betting to offer poker and casino services to its clients worldwide.