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PartyGaming links up with Spanish casino group, by Lucy Killgren -
February 6 2009
(Credit: Financial Times)


PartyGaming on Friday said it hoped to strengthen its position in the Hispanic market through the launch of a three year alliance with Spain’s leading gaming group, as it reported a steep fall in fourth quarter revenues from its traditional online gambling activities.

PartyGaming, which operates online gaming websites like PartyPoker.com and PartyCasino.com, said its alliance with Cirsa Gaming Corporation would enable it to “explore and develop internet gaming opportunities in Spanish-speaking countries.”

The 29-year-old Cirsa is based in Barcelona and began as a manufacturer of slot machines. It owns and operates bingo halls, casinos and amusement arcades and operates in 70 countries. In Spain, where it is the market leader, it runs 57 bingo clubs, four casinos and 139 amusement arcades.

A spokesman for PartyGaming said: “Cirsa is a pretty well-known and trusted name. this is about us leveraging these brands, like we have done with ITV.”

ITV Play runs a series of games such as Emmerdale Bingo, powered by PartyGaming.

PartyGaming said it was in discussion with other well-known - but unnamed - operators about forming similar alliances.

Jim Ryan, chief executive, said: “”We believe the combination of Cirsa’s assets with our online gaming expertise will create a major opportunity for both companies, especially throughout the Spanish speaking world.”

The news of the partnership with Cirsa came as PartyGaming reported an 18 per cent fall in fourth quarter revenues. US dollar currency movements, promotions, tough competition and a delay in the launch of a loyalty scheme launched in December, had all taken their toll on revenues

Revenues for the three months December 31 fell from $122.4m to $100.4m. Foreign exchange movements had adversely impacted revenues in the fourth quarter by about $15m.

It said on Friday that trading conditions “remained tough”, but said that while currency movement had affected revenues, they had had a corresponding benefit on costs and as a result it expected clean earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation to be slightly ahead of market expectations.

Bwin Interactive Entertainment, the Austrian Internet bookmaker has reiterated forecasts for this and last year’s core earnings despite a slight slowdown in growth in the final quarter.

Analysts have predicted strong growth for leisure companies operating in the online space, even in the face of increased competition as broadband becomes more widely available across Europe and around the world.

PartyGaming, which is in talks with the US Department of Justice with the aim of settling its US liabilities in the wake of the crackdown on internet gambling in 2006, said discussions with the DOJ “continue to progress in line with our expectations.”

In December Anurag Dikshit, co-founder of PartyGaming pleaded guilty to a single charge of online gambling and forfeited $300m, an outcome that in effects ended the liability hanging over him.

Shares slipped 3 per cent in early trade to 163¾p by mid morning in London.

 

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