Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment agrees American joint venture with MGM Resorts and Boyd Gaming - 2nd November 2011


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Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment Plc has announced details of a joint venture agreement with US bricks and mortar casino groups MGM Resorts International and Boyd Gaming Corp that will see them offer online poker in America should it become regulated and licensed.

The deal will see bwin.party, MGM and Boyd form a jointly-owned US-based company (‘Federal NewCo’) with bwin.party owning 65%, MGM owning 25% and Boyd owning 10%. Should federal legislation be enacted the joint venture would offer online poker to US players via the World Poker Tour and PartyPoker brands with bwin.party providing the software and support. Should US poker be legalised at the state rather than federal level a new stand-alone company would be created to develop opportunities on a state by state basis.

“Our strategy has been designed to address any and all legislative outcomes, whether federal or state-by-state.” said Jim Ryan and Norbert Teufelberger, the Co-CEOs of bwin.party. “We are particularly excited to be working with MGM and Boyd. Combining their significant assets and regulatory expertise with the strength of our PartyPoker and World Poker Tour brands, all supported by our in-house technology, makes us perfectly positioned for any future opening of the US online poker market.”

In addition to the customer facing deal, bwin.party, MGM and Boyd also revealed details of a two separate 15-year business to business agreements that would “enable them to offer real money online poker services under their own brands in the US using the bwin.party technology platform and associated services.”

Jim Murren, Chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International, said 'MGM has long been supportive of federal legislation to strengthen UIGEA and provide the needed regulations and consumer protections for online poker. MGM is proud to have bwin.party as our partner as they have the assets and experience that, combined with our brands, can ensure a secure, fair and entertaining online poker experience.”

Keith Smith, President and CEO of Boyd Gaming, added “We believe the right approach to offering legal online poker in the United States is through a federal regulatory structure that ensures the games are conducted with the greatest possible integrity and security. Should Congress enact legislation to legalise Internet poker, this agreement will allow us to partner with the world’s most experienced and prestigious online operator to offer a secure, fair and entertaining experience for players in the United States.”

Bwin.Party also confirmed that it is set to enter a preliminary suitability review with the Nevada Gaming Control Board in order to secure an advanced finding of suitability in anticipation of future US-facing real money poker opportunities.

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