US Bwin Poker for American Players
Bwin.com is an Australia based online gambling company which holds a plethora of gambling licenses, including ones issued by the governments of UK, France, Italy, Gibraltar, Austria, Croatia and Mexico. Many gambling experts are predicting the next major country to license Bwin will be the United Stares.
During the same month (July 2010) a bill (HR2267) which proposes the legalization and regulation of online poker in the US passed the US House Representatives Financial Services Committee by a 41-22 vote, Bwin.com and PartyGaming (the company behind PartyPoker.com) announced plans to merge. This merger, worth $250 billion US, will see the merged company traded on the London Stock Exchange, where overnight they’ll become the world’s largest publicly traded online gambling company. While laws remain unchanged, the company will not be forthcoming in admitting so, but most believe this merger is part of each company’s preparation strategy for the return of US based online poker.
Bwin and PartyPoker are no strangers to the US market; in fact, from 2002 to late 2006 Bwin’s Ongame network was the world’s largest network, while PartyGaming’s PartyPoker.com was the largest independent poker site. Each company was forced out of the US market by their shareholders due to the passing of anti-gaming legislation in late 2006 by unscrupulous Congressmen and Senators (specifically, but not limited to: Jim Leach, Robert Goodlatte, Bill Frist, and Jon Kyl) using a tactic known as “midnight drop”. If you’re not familiar with this tactic, late in the evening hours on the day Congress was set to adjourn for elections, anti-gambling legislation was inserted into a must pass and totally unrelated bill. The Senate, not even having time to vote on the bill, as this is how late it was added, had a statement already prepared that they had agreed to it by unanimous consent; so as soon as it passed the House late that final evening of the Congressional session, it was there ready to be signed into law by the President.
While the mistakes of the past can not be erased, they can be fixed. Due to demands from over one million members of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), who were perhaps speaking for the some odd 50 million poker players in the US, expressing outrage for Congress’s 2006 actions, the current Congress is finally acting. While HR2267, which passed committee in July 2010, still needs to pass the full House, the Senate, and then be signed into law by the President, many players, industry members and operators are optimistic that US licensed poker will be available by 2012. PartyGaming and Bwin merging makes perfect sense, as each company will now be in a better position to take advantage of this, and will certainly be seekers of the first ever US internet gaming license.
PartyGaming and Bwin each bring big name brand potential to the table. PartyGaming brings PartyPoker, the largest US friendly poker site from 2002-late 2006, and Bwin has the potential to bring PokerRoom.com, a brand they’ve returned but could revive, which was also a massive size in the US market. The brand recognition each company has to offer, combined with the networking capabilities Bwin brings to the table, moves each company into a much better position to take over their previous roles as the world’s largest online poker site and largest online poker network. One thing’s for sure: when online poker is legal in the US, competition will be fierce, as big money companies such as Google, Harrah’s, MGM, Budweiser, etc., decide on ways to take advantage of the gold rush that will ensue when online poker returns to the US. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. To learn more on this Party/Bwin topic, see our page on US PartyPoker; and for more information in general, browse any of the pages of our site. In the meantime, there are still plenty of large sites accepting US players, such as PokerStars.com and Full Tilt Poker.