IGT Bets On Online Poker

Last month, rumors started circulating that gaming giant IGT (International Game Technology) was pursuing the purchase of the Swedish company Entraction Holding. Entraction Holding owns and operates the 12th largest online poker network in the world, with a total of 60 different partners and with additional offerings in the online casino, bingo, and sports betting niches. The company is probably best known for its offshoot, the European Masters of Poker.

Via its many popular slots and video poker titles, IGT has had an online presence in the gambling industry since 2005, but thus far the company has largely limited its participation to game design. Many other live gambling brands preceded IGT in creating an online operating presence, but after Black Friday most of those companies jumped ship and dissolved their online partnerships.

This week, IGT stayed true to its own plan and announced that its buyout offer of approximately $115.3 million had been accepted by Entraction Holding’s Board of Directors. The Board has since passed the offer on to the company’s shareholders who have until June 7 to approve the deal which will likely result in a full transfer of ownership in less than a month since IGT is funding the purchase from its own balance sheet.

IGT has been dominating both the live and online gambling title markets for years, and their acquisition of an actual gaming network puts them in prime position to dominate the casino, poker room and sportsbook venues as well, what with their exceptional game portfolio, technological prowess and strong brand recognition. Furthermore, should IGT choose to offer new titles exclusively through their own sites, then Entraction Holding is primed to rocket to the top of both the online casino and poker room markets.

Though the American online gambling market is currently one big question mark, IGT’s purchase of Entraction Holding also positions them not only to expand their European audience but to take advantage of the American audience should online gambling ever get legalized. In the words of the company’s own CEO, Patti Hart, “The addition of Entraction advances IGT’s position in legalized interactive gaming markets. It strengthens our interactive portfolio by adding poker, bingo, casino and sports betting. This combination will drive enhanced value for our global customers and partners.”

In related news, IGT’s stocks are performing exceptionally well like in a positive market response to the company’s pending acquisition and resulting expansion. With IGT Systems’ Global Users Conference also fast approaching (it’s scheduled to run from June 29-30 at the ARIA Resort and Casino in the company’s hometown of Las Vegas), the company’s stock value is expected to continue to make significant gains through the summer.

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