PartyGaming gearing up for a return to US

ONLINE gaming group PartyGaming yesterday said it was gearing up for a possible return to the US if legislation banning the industry is overturned, after reporting a 27 per cent rise in first quarter revenue.

PartyGaming, which operates the PartyPoker and PartyCasino sites, said it was encouraged by congressmen Barney Frank and Jim McDermott’s moves to push through a new bill to regulate online gambling which was made illegal in the US in 2006.

Chief executive Jim Ryan said the most likely initial move by US authorities would be to legalise online poker, seen as a game of skill, which could in time lead to other forms of online gambling being allowed. “We are seeing increased momentum towards regulating online poker. It’s possible that it could happen this year and we’re prepared if it does,” saidRyan.

Ryan said PartyGaming had set up an operation in Los Angeles with 38 staff and was in talks over possible business-to-business deals with US operators.

“We’ve got any number of US operators who we’re talking to right now about providing them with online gaming services and software. That gives us good reason to think that regulation isn’t that far way,” he said.