The parent company of Party Poker, Party Gaming is merging with Bwin. Bwin is the parent company of the Ongame network. While most of you know who Party Poker is, the Ongame network includes sites like Bwin Poker, Betfair Poker, Hollywood Poker, and RedKings Poker. Poker Scout ranks Party Poker as the number three poker room in player size and volume globally. The Ongame Network weighs in at fifth. The word is the new merged company will probably sport a new name, but it is doubtful that any poker sites will be changing.
Reports call the merger a buyout of Bwin by Party Gaming yet Bwin will somehow have controlling interest of over 51%. I see the words “reverse takeover” bandied about but that is for financial types. To put the merger in perspective, if Ongame and Party Poker started being listed together on Poker Scout, they still would be a distant third to Pokerstars and Full Tilt Poker.
Many view the merger as positioning to be ready when the US market opens up to regulated online poker some time in the distant future. With all the talk in committee hearings of excluding operators who have taken US players in the past, this may be the strategy. As far as we know, Bwin has never been in the US market, while Party Poker was one of the first big poker sites catering to US players before their abrupt departure in 2006.
From a player standpoint, there should not be any unrest or uncertainty regarding the merger. I am not an insider on this deal, but I doubt anything outward, player-facing will change on any of the sites involved.