The OnGame Network has finally been sold and the deal is finalized. Shuffle Master Inc. has purchased the OnGame Network for a total of €19.5M cash upfront plus an extra €10M that’s payable over 5 years after online poker regulation in the USA. In July it was made clear that Bwin.Party was looking to sell their asset that was no longer needed. Bwin.Party was hoping that they were going to be able to complete a deal in 2011, but Bwin.Party announced in December that a deal wouldn’t be done until 2012.
Currently the OnGame Network is ranked 5th in terms of traffic according to PokerScout. Traffic numbers are going to fall quite a bit initially because Bwin Poker players will be moved over to the Party Poker Network. A lot of the OnGame Network is made up of Bwin Poker players and once all of the players are moved over the OnGame Network will have a lot less traffic. The deal was very inexpensive for Shuffle Master though and will allow the company to immediately pursue online B2B opportunities.
Shuffle Master now has a software suite that has a lot of great features. The OnGame Network has a desktop client for Mac and Windows users plus a mobile poker app that’s compatible on the iOS and Android. The OnGame Network also has a license to operate in France, Denmark and Italy already. The deal isn’t going to have much of an affect on poker players other than the Bwin Poker players that will finally be moved over to Bwin.Party.
It was reported last month that Shuffle Master was most likely going to close on a deal to buy the OnGame Network and those reports were correct. Shuffle Master has applied for an online poker license in Nevada already and now that they have the software capabilities they could be in a good position to be one of the 1st licensed poker rooms in Nevada.
Earlier reports have stated that once Bwin Poker players are moved over to Party Poker the OnGame Network may lose about 50% of the current traffic they receive. Shuffle Master I’m sure isn’t worried about the traffic numbers, as they were able to purchase several great assets without spending much money.
Brick and mortar gambling companies in the United States want to be ready for regulation and we’ve seen several companies rush around to purchase networks outright or create partnerships with established networks. Last year IGT purchased the Entraction Network for €87M and there were numerous other strategic partnerships developed. Once regulation happens in the US companies don’t want to be left on the outside looking in because they don’t have the technological capabilities to compete. It will be interesting to see what some of the flagship brands on the Ongame Network such as Bwin Poker do about this change in ownership.