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PartyPoker’s Stock Market Flotation Looks Inevitable

PartyPoker, the world’s biggest online poker site, who, when approached by PokerNews.Info in November, scorched rumours that it was planning to go public, has announced it may float on the London Stock Exchange.

The announcement by PartyGaming (formerly known as iGlobalMedia and owner of PartyPoker.com) that it had appointed two investment banks “to undertake a review of the group’s strategic options” is a common prelude to flotation. The news has sparked much speculation in the British press.

 

PartyPoker accounts for more than half the worldwide online poker market, with 65,000 people, mostly Americans, playing simultaneously at peak times. Their registrations are believed to be approaching five million.

 

Last year’s profits were estimated to be in the region of $350 million, with $500-$600 earnings projected for 2005. It therefore comes as no surprise that city analysts have already put a rough value of £3 billion ($5.7 billion) on PartyGaming.

 

That makes the Gibraltar-registered company worth more than many long-established London Stock Exchange-listed businesses, such as British Airways, ICI, and EMI. Floatation on the London Stock Market is the obvious choice, as the legality of online gambling in the United States remains unclear.

 

By “going public,” PartyGaming’s publicity-shy quartet of owners are set to attain massive wealth. They consist of founders Ruth Parasol (a colourful Californian lawyer who has already made a fortune from pornographic websites) and Indian computer expert Anurag Dikshit.

 

Russ de Leon, another American, and Vikrant Bhargava, an Indian marketing executive, joined later with the PartyPoker site launched in 2001 — four years after the company’s [iGlobalMedia] formation.

 

Just last fall, ParadisePoker’s sale to a UK company made £150 million ($285 million) for its creators, three Canadian computer engineers. A flotation by PartyGaming would dwarf that sum.

 

Huge Marketing Investment Seems to Pay Dividends for 888.com’s Pacific Poker

888.com, self-acclaimed as the world’s number one online casino and poker room, reports it has increased its members from 10 million to 13 million (in 151 countries) in the space of one year.

 

The brand also scooped the prestigious “best online casino” at the prestigious Inside Edge Magazine Awards in London, England.

 

According to 888.com, its PacificPoker.com “is one of the fastest growing online poker products within a market that has seen a massive explosion in popularity.”

 

888.com also says, “Gambling continues to grow as Britain’s favourite pastime. Since 2003, there has been a 566 percent rise in the amount of money staked online.”

 

888.com continues to cement its position as a leading authority in gaming entertainment with huge marketing campaigns. In July 2004, 888.com became the main sponsor of the Middlesbrough football club, and was an official sponsor of the 2005 Lakeside World Professional Darts Championship that took place in early January.

 

The company also sponsors poker online 2021 an array of top sporting professionals, including Masters Snooker Champion Paul Hunter, UK Championship winner Matthew Stevens, who also landed last year’s valuable televised PacificPoker Open, and 12-time World Darts Champion Phil Taylor.

 

Nordic Masters of Poker

 

The Nordic Masters of Poker will be held March 21-27. Events will include a supersatellite for the main event, split-limit hold’em, no-limit hold’em, and pot-limit Omaha. Buy-ins will range from 1,100 SEK to 10,500 SEK. The event will also feature the Top Table Trophy freeroll for the three best players in Nordic Masters main event and three best players in Swedish Poker Challenge. The winner of the freeroll will receive airfare, accommodations, and buy-in to the Master Classics main event in November in Amsterdam, which is worth approximately 65,000 SEK.

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