After nearly two years of negotiations, PartyGaming announced today that it had reached a non-prosecution agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
As part of the agreement, PartyGaming will pay $105 million in fines with the assurance that the U.S. government will not prosecute the company or any of its subsidiaries “for providing internet gambling services to customers in the U.S. prior to the enactment of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (‘UIGEA’) on 13 October 2006.”
PartyGaming, the online gaming giant who once had the lion’s share of the online poker market before it pulled out of the U.S. market when the UIGEA was passed, has not offered services to Americans since 2006 and agreed in the deal not to pursue these customers under the current laws.
“The resolution of our position with the U.S. authorities marks an important day for PartyGaming,” said Jim Ryan, CEO of PartyGaming. “It has been a long and complex process but we have reached an amicable solution with the [U.S. Attorney’s Office] that makes commercial sense for our business and is in the best interests of shareholders. We are now well-placed to seize organic as well as strategic opportunities that previously were beyond our reach.”
In the agreement, PartyGaming agreed to four major statements as quoted in a company press release today:
• From 1997 until 13 October 2006, PartyGaming offered internet gaming to players located in the US, including real-money poker and casino gaming. On 13 October, 2006, the day the UIGEA was enacted, the Group voluntarily exited the US market.
• Prior to 13 October 2006, certain of the US customer transactions intended for PartyGaming that were processed by third parties, and other gaming and payment-related activity, were contrary to certain US laws.
• PartyGaming has agreed to maintain, with respect to its operations, a restriction preventing internet gambling services from being provided to customers in the US in violation of the prevailing law of the US or any jurisdiction within the US.
• If requested by PartyGaming, the USAO will bring the co-operation and remedial actions of PartyGaming to the attention of other licensing and regulatory authorities.
While PartyGaming agreed to restrict American customers based on current legislation, this deal could pave the way for the company to reenter the U.S. market if the UIGEA is reversed. Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) will introduce a bill that will do exactly that, sometime after the Easter recess.
This agreement comes just months after PartyGaming co-founder Anurag Dikshit pleaded guilty to illegal Internet gambling, agreeing to pay a $300 million fine.