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Big Operators Ready for US Online Gambling

By: Fabian Rictor, Thursday October 20th 2011
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In the last few days news items have appeared about some of the biggest online and land based gambling operators preparing for entry to the US online gambling market. The expectation clearly is the online gambling in the US will be legalized sooner than later and one should be ready for it.

Trump Entertainment Inc. and the Avenue Capital Group have filed statutory documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission to establish a joint online gaming venture. Trump Entertainment had filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and was taken over by global investment firm Avenue Capital Management. Avenue Capital holds 22% stake in Trump Entertainment, while Donald Trump has retained 10% for the right to continue using his name. Ivanka Trump, Donald's daughter, is the executive vice president of development and acquisitions of the Trump Organisation. She stated in an interview to Bloomberg that Avenue Capital would provide the required funding and her father would contribute his name. Ivanka said, "The joint venture is positioning itself to be the largest online gaming company if the USA industry is legalized. In terms of the Internet, brand is essential toward attracting players, the Trump brand would be the most powerful one in this space." Ivanka believes that a legalized US online gambling industry would be a tremendous source of taxable revenue for the government and an enormous generator of jobs.

In another report, Forbes magazine has stated that Jim Ryan, joint chief executive of digital entertainment, has been doing the rounds of investors in the United States. Formed through the merger of Bwin and PartyGaming, is the largest listed online gambling operator in the world. Ryan has spent three weeks in the US presenting the strengths of his company to potential American investors. Ryan clearly pointed out that the two brands with the greatest awareness in the US were PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker. Since these brands have been indicted they are unlikely to get space in the legalized US online gambling market. Therefore, Ryan argued, "The brand that has the most consumer awareness is in fact the PartyPoker brand." also owns the World Poker Tour. Party Poker had paid a huge fine for clearing its slate with the US Justice Department for pre-2006 operations without any indictment. Ryan revealed that he was working on partnerships with two US companies.

The US land gambling supplier Bally Technologies indicated at the recently held G2E in Las Vegas that it is optimistic about the prospects of legalized online gambling in the US. Now a report in the Philadelphia Enquirer states that Bally Technologies has launched a new Interactive division to cover the mobile, online and social network gambling markets. In July Bally Technologies had acquired Macro View Labs of San Francisco, which develops mobile apps and mobile websites. Bally spokesman Mike Trask revealed that some of Bally's games were already in the iTunes store. Trask said, "The goal, at the end of the day, is to provide the same experience for a player no matter where he's physically located . . . whether inside a casino, on a website, or while waiting in line at the grocery store."

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