Changes to the European Online Gaming Market in 2011

Written by Eric | Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

The end of 2010 could have led to drastic changes for online poker in the US.  The American market could have faced up to 2 years without online poker due to terms and conditions in Senator Harry Reid’s legalised online poker bill, aka the 15 month “blackout” period.  If this had been passed as many suggested it might, it would probably have been it for PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker’s dominance of the online poker market.

Funny enough though, while 2010 almost severed online poker in the US; it’s the European market which will witness massive changes in 2011.

Two major takeover and merger deals spring to mind. The Ladbrokes/888 Holdings take-over and the Party Gaming/Bwin merger.

That’s right, both of these mergers are very likely to happen in 2011 or possibly even sooner.  Just days ago, speculation about a possible merger between UK bookmaker giants Ladbrokes and 888 Holdings led to the latter’s share prices roaring upwards 18.9%.  Any spread betting aficianos would have had a field day with this one!  The take-over deal of 888 Holdings by Ladbrokes is rumoured to be worth up to £240 million.

However it’s the other deal which will have a bigger impact.  Party Gaming and Bwin’s merger deal has been planned for quite some time.  In July 2010 both companies stated publicly that they would be merging to create the world’s largest listed online gambling company.  However a recent press release has stated that the new company, soon to be called “Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment Plc”, is in the final preparation stage for the merger.

The reason why this is big news for European poker players is that the combined merger of Bwin and Party Poker will create the 3rd largest poker room in the world (sitting behind PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker).  This will undoubtly lead to some massive promotions orientated for European players and markets.

Just imagine, a Full Tilt Poker or PokerStars just for European players.  Big, big news.

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