On March 12th, 2009, online poker and gambling organization, PartyGaming, reported that their 2008 profits dropped from $3 million to $473 million, with lower poker earnings offset by improvement from casino sports wagering and bingo. But comments made by new PartyGaming CEO JIM Ryan regarding the progress towards finalizing a settlement with the New York US Attorney's office is what is making noise for the group.
A settlement will solve any legal problems for Party Poker having received so-called "illegal" wagers from US residents before the approval of the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act or UIGEA. PartyGaming exited the US gaming markets when the UIGEA was approved on October 13th, 2006, losing fifty to seventy five percent of its business. Although many contend that the game of poker does not fall under the jurisdiction of UIGEA, PartyGaming as a public organization was unwilling to risk shareholder lawsuits by contesting the UIGEA. Once a settlement removes the chance of any lawsuits, PartyGaming will be in a more solid position for making agreements with other organizations or being acquired.
It could also act confident if the US gaming market re-opens, which many believe is the motivation for its reaching a settlement with the New York US Attorney's office. Jim Ryan said that the guilty plea and settlement finalized by one of its founders, Anurag Dikshit to pay $300 million in fine and potentially spend two years behind bars would have no ill effects on PartyGaming's settlement talks because Mr. Dikshit's position is personal. PartyGaming finance director Martin Weigold that the organization expects to pay less than Mr. Dikshit. Gaming analyst predict that the payment to be in the range of $150 million.