02/16/2012 : COULD ONGAME POKER NETWORK BE A TARGET FOR SHUFFLE MASTER?
 
Analyst opines that Bwin.party's surplus-to-requirements poker network would be a logical acquisition for U.S. group
 
With the land-online gambling convergence trend accelerating, a UK analyst opined this week that Bwin.party's surplus-to-requirements online poker network, Ongame, would be a logical acquisition target for a US company like Shuffle Master with ambitions in a legalised American internet poker market.
 
Roth Capital Markets gaming analyst Todd Eilers said he wouldn't be surprised if Shuffle Master jumps into the bidding for Ongame, which is the fifth-largest online poker network in Europe according to independent industry monitor Pokerscout.com.
 
Shuffle Master's ambitions in the online sector became apparent last year when it unveiled a two-pronged effort targeting regulated Internet gaming in Europe, and the free casual-social gaming markets in the United States.
 
"We view the interactive gaming opportunity as the most underappreciated aspect of Shuffle's growth story," Eilers wrote after discussions with Shuffle Master executives. "Both opportunities could begin generating meaningful revenue this summer."
 
Eilers said it was likely that there would be significant interest from other bidders for Ongame.
 
International Game Technology acquired the Swedish Entraction online poker network for $115 million late last year