MGM Resorts and Boyd Gaming have entered into partnership agreements with bwin.party to provide online poker in the United States if lawmakers legalise the game.
Boyd announced that it has agreed to acquire a 10% stake in a new company that would offer online poker to US players under bwin.party’s brands, including PartyPoker. MGM will own 25% of the venture and bwin.party will hold a 65% stake.
Boyd has also signed a separate 15-year agreement to use bwin.party’s technology platform to offer online poker to US players under a brand developed by Boyd Gaming. MGM signed a similar technology deal with bwin.party.
Keith Smith, Chief Executive of Boyd Gaming, said: “We see online poker as a compelling future growth opportunity for our company, and this agreement would position Boyd Gaming to quickly become a leader in the online poker market in the United States.”
Analysts estimate the US market to be worth between $3 billion and $5 billion annually, and poker sites operated by bwin.party, MGM and Boyd could grab up to 20% of the market.
Jim Ryan, Co-Chief Executive of bwin.party, told eGaming Review that “the nature of these deals is that they cover both federal and state outcomes.”
Liquidity from the three companies’ brands would be pooled into one US-facing network operating on the PartyPoker platform. “There will be one poker network, with MGM, Boyd, PartyPoker and the WPT, four brands on one network,” Ryan confirmed to eGaming Review.
Ryan added that the MGM and Boyd deals allow the company to apply for a gaming licence from the Nevada Gaming Commission, which can take up to 18 months to complete.
Bwin.party, which trades on the London Stock Exchange, was formed by the March merger of Bwin Interactive Entertainment AG and PartyGaming Plc. The newly merged company, the world’s largest publicly traded online gaming concern, reported revenues of €814 million ($1.13 billion) for the last year.