PartyGaming Plc, the parent company of Party Poker, has agreed to pay the U.S. government $105 million to settle charges that it illegally offered gambling to players in the United States. Industry insiders, however, are calling it little more than a shakedown by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
A summary of the terms of the Non-Prosecution Agreement include a provision that “PartyGaming has agreed to maintain, with respect to its operations, a restriction preventing internet gambling services from being provided to customers in the US . . . ”
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.”
Today’s news sent online gambling stocks soaring overseas because some financial analysts see the settlement as reducing uncertainty in the industry and thereby opening the door to industry consolidation and expansion outside the U.S.
Party Poker was once the undisputed heavyweight champ of the online poker world, but has since consistently lost revenues and downsized their operations.