Party Gaming's half yearly report this week contained some interesting snippets of information about the online gambling group's plans for the immediate future.
Chief among these is an intention to offer the Party Poker product to other online poker operators on a white label basis in the near future. Chief exec Jim Ryan believes this to be a useful strategy to counter the dominance of rival poker sites that are still taking US bets. Party Gaming reversed out of the American online gambling market soon after the UIGEA was passed in late 2006, and is clearly at a competitive disadvantage as a result.
Ryan advised that there had been no further developments regarding settlement negotiations with the US Department of Justice regarding Party's pre-UIGEA operations. Talks with US officials have been taking place for over a year, with Party Gaming anxious to resolve issues in order to remove the threat of any prosecution in the United States, thus creating a more stable perception of the company.
The newly appointed non-executive chairman at Party, Rod Parry, will carry the responsibility for the talks going forward, with the hope that the matter can be concluded this year, Ryan said.
"Certainly that's our goal," he said. "To bring continuity to the Department of Justice discussions Rod Parry, our newly-appointed chairman, will be taking over the day-to-day management of the DoJ process freeing me up and allowing me to focus my efforts on daily operations," he added.
Ryan said the company has already put in place all the white label business elements that would enable the firm to compete strongly with those sites taking US bets, and would work with like minded operators to create a new poker network.
“The US sites will continue to spend their marketing dollars in Europe and we know the competitive environment is set to become even more challenging," Ryan said. "But what’s interesting is how we plan to defend ourselves.
"We are about to launch the next generation Party Poker platform in the near future along with a rebrand. The brand will become much more meaningful to the customer through our marketing and there will be an enhanced effort to improve our contact with the VIP players on Party Poker.
"We will have a team dedicated to the players who have become good at poker on our site and we want them to have an amazing experience with and not go to another site.”
Ryan's plans include the possible acquisition of unidentified companies in Europe. He told a conference call that the company was considering these opportunities, although investigations are still at an early stage