Ongame Poker Network Future Unlclear

Ongame Poker Network Future UnlclearOn January 28, 2011, the shareholders of Party Gaming and bwin voted and officially approved the merger between the two companies. Due to the forthcoming planned merger, speculation mounts regarding the future of the Ongame Poker Network. The proposed merger was originally announced in July 2010, and the new company that will be created which will be named bwin.Party Digital Entertainment Plc., is expected to be the largest such company in the global world of online gaming.

As the merger itself approaches, the question arises regarding the future of Ongame Poker Network, the online poker network at bwin. A glance at the site of PokerScout.com, a tracking site for online poker information, shows details concerning the various online poker networks that are in operation. Information at this site demonstrates that the PartyPoker network holds a weekly average of 3950 players, while the Ongame network has an average player count of 2850. It would therefore seem natural to retain the PartyPoker network for the new combined site.

The Ongame network was bought by bwin in 2005 when the purchase price was ₤474 million.  It should be noted that at the time of the purchase, players from the U.S. were welcomed at the bwin site, however, since the UIGEA, American poker players are no longer accepted.

Although it is an assumption at this stage, it seems likely that players at bwin’s Ongame network would be transferred to the Party Gaming – bwin network, following the actual merger. As to the future for Ongame, there is then the possibility that the Ongame network may be sold. As there is presently much discussion in the United States concerning the legalization of online poker, it may be that any possible sale of Ongame may be put on hold for any potential regulations regarding online poker. Any developments in this area would see the costs for such a network rise however this situation at the present time remains unclear.

Following the merger of these two giants in the online gaming industry, the new bwin.Party company is expected to be headed by the current CEO’s of each company.  This means that Jim Ryan from Party Gaming and Norbert Teufelberger from bwin would turn into Co-Chief Executives at the new company.

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