Nearly six years after exiting the U.S. market, PartyPoker parent company bwin.party has submitted papers to make its return. According to Cardplayer, bwin.party officially applied for a Nevada gaming license with the Nevada Gaming Control Board, adding its name to a growing list of companies interested in the space once online gaming is legalized.
After the passage of Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) on Sept. 29, 2006, PartyGaming suspended all real-money gaming business with U.S. customers and exited the market. Three years later, PartyGaming signed a Non-Prosecution Agreement to fork over $105 million to the U.S. Department of Justice for offering Internet gambling to U.S. customers prior to the passage of the UIGEA. The settlement cleared PartyGaming from being prosecuted for any of its activities relating to its U.S operations, and also paved the way for company if the U.S. decides to legalize and regulate online gaming in the future.
PartyGaming merged with bwin last April and, six months later, the company partnered with MGM Resorts International and Boyd Gaming in an "anticipatory" move for legalized on gambling. As part of the joint venture, bwin.party will own 65 percent of the company for providing and maintaining the software for both gaming companies.
MGM will hold 25 percent ownership and Boyd will own 10 percent. MGM and Boyd have already submitted similar applications as online poker operators.
PartyPoker was once the No. 1 online poker room in the U.S. before the company departed the country. Bwin.Party CEO Jim Ryan told PokerNews last month that while the bwin.party/MGM/Boyd venture won't be able to grab 50 percent of the market share that PartyPoker once had pre-UIGEA, it will have a "very meaningful liquidity pool" in a highly competitive space.
PokerNews reached out to bwin.party on Thursday but a spokesperson declined to comment.
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*Photo courtesy of PokerScout.com.