Monday, June 27, 2005Contact: Maurits Bruggink
Dark side of PartyGaming IPO

The largest online gaming operator PartyGaming, who offers mainly poker games, will float on the London Stock Exchange this month. Although the target of 10bn US$ floating value has been scaled down to 8,5 bn, the market valuation remains impressive. The company’s maket value will be higher than blue chip companies like British Airways or Sainsbury.

Although PartyGaming operates poker games and not betting on horseracing, the floatation cannot be welcomed by the horseracing industry. PartyGaming offers online games of chance largely to people living in countries (90% of customer base is estimated to be U.S.) where this is forbidden by law.

The same disrespect of national integrity on gaming law we find in the online betting industry. The horseracing industry suffers great economic damages as a result.

Terrestrial, read nationally regulated, gambling industries have to comply with many regulations in order to operate this sensitive activity. Online operators would have to comply with the same standards, but escape the rules by establishing in soft jurisdictions. PartyGaming’s websites operate with a license from Gibraltar.

In the U.S., where PartyGaming is said to generate 90% of its business, online gaming is not allowed other than betting on horseracing under the Interstate Horseracing Act. It is a matter of time that PartyGaming and other online operators that offer illegal services, will be overtaken by law and order. The IFHA does not welcome online gaming operators that offer gaming in countries where law forbids this and it will continue its fight to change this.

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