Shares in the London-listed online gambling group PartyGaming are expected to soar following the group's announcement Tuesday that it has reached a settlement with the US Department of Justice, removing the threat of prosecution for pre-UIGEA activities.
The cost of removing the cloud of possible action by the Americans is $105 million, payable as follows:
* 10 April 2009 – $5m * 30 September 2009 – $10m * 31 March 2010 – $15m * 30 September 2010 – $15m * 31 March 2011 – $15m * 30 September 2011 – $15m * 31 March 2012 – $15m * 30 September 2012 – $15m
It is considerable cheaper than the $300 million paid independently by one of the founders, Anurag Dikshit, in his personal capacity earlier this year.
In a statement, PartyGaming said that a non-prosecution agreement had been concluded with the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (the ‘USAO’) following protracted negotiations.
Under the terms of the Non-Prosecution Agreement, the USAO will not prosecute PartyGaming plc or any of its subsidiaries for providing Internet gambling services to customers in the US prior to the enactment of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act on 13 October 2006.
As part of the agreement, the company has accepted a Statement of Facts regarding its business activities prior to the enactment of the UIGEA and has agreed to pay $105 million, payable in semi-annual instalments over a period ending on 30 September 2012. Such payments will be made from the Group’s existing financial resources.
Key elements of the Statement of Facts are:
* From 1997 until 13 October 2006, PartyGaming offered Internet gaming to players located in the US, including real-money poker and casino gaming. On 13 October, 2006, the day the UIGEA was enacted, the Group voluntarily exited the US market.
* Prior to 13 October 2006, certain of the US customer transactions intended for PartyGaming that were processed by third parties, and other gaming and payment-related activity, were contrary to certain US laws.
* PartyGaming has agreed to maintain, with respect to its operations, a restriction preventing Internet gambling services from being provided to customers in the US in violation of the prevailing law of the US or any jurisdiction within the US.
* If requested by PartyGaming, the USAO will bring the co-operation and remedial actions of PartyGaming to the attention of other licensing and regulatory authorities.
Commenting on today’s announcement, Jim Ryan, Chief Executive Officer said:
“The resolution of our position with the US authorities marks an important day for PartyGaming. It has been a long and complex process but we have reached an amicable solution with the USAO that makes commercial sense for our business and is in the best interests of shareholders. We are now well-placed to seize organic as well as strategic opportunities that previously were beyond our reach.”
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