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Poker News: April 7th, 2009

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Copyright © Bloomberg

HEADLINE: Final Four Tourney at Bodog Poker Guaranteeing 2009 WSOP Seats

PartyGaming Plc, the owner of the gambling brand, said its sales are being hurt by competition from offshore Web sites that still solicit customers in the U.S., where Internet gambling is barred.

Until the October 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, Gibraltar-based PartyGaming had a world-leading 40 percent market share in online poker, said spokesman John Shepherd in a telephone interview. Today it’s No. 4, with an 8 percent market share, he said.

PartyGaming, once valued at more than 6 billion pounds, lost more than two-thirds of its profit after the U.S. Congress passed a law to prevent credit-card companies from collecting online bet payments. The company contends it loses business to companies that still solicit American bettors because they use their U.S. profit to pitch gamblers worldwide, Shepherd said.

“America is perceived, rightly, as the home of poker,” said Warwick Bartlett, chief executive of Global Betting & Gaming Consultants. “The Europeans like to play against the American players, so they gravitate to the companies actively recruiting players in the United States.”

About 66,000 U.S. users play PartyGaming’s poker Web sites daily for fun, and 4,000 more join every day, said Finance Director Martin Weigold.

“You can’t deposit money with us, and you can’t play with real money,” Shepherd said of the U.S. players.

Market Share has a 37 percent worldwide market share in poker, and Full Tilt Poker, 16 percent, and both accept wagers from the U.S., PartyGaming said in this year’s annual report, citing monitoring firm numbers.’s Web site tells players that the U.S. law “does not in any way prohibit you from playing online poker.” PokerStars, which is based in the Isle of Man, doesn’t have a listed telephone number and didn’t respond to an e-mailed request for comment.

Full Tilt, which is based in Ireland, according to PokerScout, also didn’t respond to an e-mail.

PartyGaming said its 22 percent drop in first-quarter revenue to $100.1 million was also due to the weakness of the pound and euro against the dollar, the currency in which it reports.

To contact the reporter on this story: David Altaner in London at Poker Bonus

Article downloaded from the World Wide Web on April 7th, 2009

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