During this past weekend’s Main Event festivities, World Poker Tour Enterprises (WPTE) and the company’s new owner PartyGaming called a press conference to officially pass the baton from former WPTE founder Steve Lipscomb to the new PartyGaming management.
In addition to the public appearance, the two sites also issued a press release announcing the finalization of the sale and the WPTE’s plans for the future. Lipscomb wished the new owner’s well in the statement. “PartyGaming has been an important partner for a number of years and we are confident that they will be an excellent manager of our brands in the future”, he stated. “Combining two of the pioneers and leaders in the poker and online gaming markets will create a strong vehicle for the WPT brand to continue its global expansion.”
WPTE has put a lot of faith in PartyGaming to take over the brand, even going so far as to forgo a $65 million deal with new media company Mandalay Entertainment to accept the $12.3 million bid from the publically traded PartyGaming. The WPTE Board of Directors voted to approve the sale on Friday October 30th, announced the deal the following Monday and things have been moving very swiftly from that point forward.
Chief Executive Officer Jim Ryan outlined some of the plans for WPTE in the coming months in the press release as well:
“This deal brings together two of the biggest brands in online and offline poker – www.PartyPoker.com  and World Poker Tour – that we will market internationally to build our poker business. Our plans also include using the ClubWPT subscription platform to leverage our 12 million-strong US player database via a Party-branded website and the launch of a European WPT-branded poker and casino site. We are excited about the opportunities that WPT, a proven marketing channel for the Group, will create for PartyGaming, particularly if the US regulates and licenses online gaming.”
PartyGaming has been thriving compared to several other publically traded casino ventures, but its online poker room PartyPoker has been struggling with retaining its user base. Recent financial reports on Q3 performance indicate that customer retention continues to be an issue with the poker room. This purchase of the WPTE is the latest step by the company that suggests they are positioning themselves for immediate re-entry in to the US online poker market should internet gambling become regulated and licensed in the near future. Previously, the company also reached a settlement deal with the US Department of Justice and, even more recently, distanced themselves from PartyGaming founder Anurag Dikshit.

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