MGM and Boyd Gaming Strike Deal with Bwin.Party to Form Online Poker Venture
On Monday, MarketWatch announced that MGM Resorts International and Boyd Gaming have joined forces with Bwin.Party to create a new company, which is unnamed, in what MGM Chief Executive Jim Murren calls an “anticipatory” move “to be prepared should [online gambling] be legalized.”
In regard to the newly created company, Bwin.Party will own 65 percent, MGM will hold 25 percent and Boyd will own 10 percent. With $716 million in revenue last year, the Gibraltar-based Bwin.Party is the largest publicly traded online gambling company in the world and boasts numerous brands, including PartyPoker. If online poker eventually becomes legalized in the U.S., Murren eludes to the fact that MGM would be “very interested” in using Bwin’s software to develop sites for its properties, such as the Bellagio, MGM Grand, and Mandalay Bay.
“We know there are millions of U.S. citizens risking billions of dollars at unregulated, illegal sites,” Murren told MarketWatch. “And there is no way to enforce good behavior, and that has to change.”
Murren went on to state his desire to see regulation on the federal level, a sentiment echoed by Boyd's chief executive, Kevin Smith:
“We believe that 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 legalize 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.”
Murren also noted that the deal hinges on legalization of online poker in the United States.