A Look Back at 2005 (September - December)

13 January 2006
See Also:

The Best and Worst of 2005

Top Stories of 2005

A Glance at 2006

Party Casts Unavoidable Doom

September 6 - Sportingbet plc enters talks to acquire Empire Online for nearly £800 million.

September 6 - PartyGaming's first financial interim report as a publicly traded company reveals that the company's revenue growth is slowing while retention rates and player yields are declining at quicker rates than expected. The warning scares investors away from I-gaming companies, and virtually all of Party's AIM-listed competitors take a significant hit.

September 12 - U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl asks for a placeholder for an amendment on an appropriations bill and indicates that the change would relate to "Internet wagering." Observers in Washington speculate that Kyl will introduce his Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2005 as the amendment.

September 15 - Sen. Kyl's latest effort to prohibit Internet gambling in the United States fails.

September 16 - Sweden's vice prime minister says the country's government should regulate Internet poker.

September 20 - Sportingbet pulls its proposal to acquire online poker group Empire Online.

September 29 - Gibraltar-based I-gaming operator 888 Holdings Plc floats on the London Stock Exchange raising £147.7 million--£130 million short of the goal set prior to a market downswing following PartyGaming's report that growth was slowing.

To Float or Not to Float?

October 1 - The U.K. Gambling Commission is formally launched.

October 6 - Betfair's bid for a license in Tasmania takes center stage as the Opposition Party pressures Premier Paul Lennon to show his hand.

October 7 - England's National Lottery Commission publishes responses to its discussion papers regarding the next U.K. National Lottery license and in doing so opens up the bidding process for the next contract.

October 10 - Gala, England's largest bingo operator, finalizes a deal to purchase Coral, the country's third largest bookmaker.

October 10 - The share value of several public I-gaming industry companies falls following PartyGaming's announcement that its soon-to-launch integrated platform will only be available to players at PartyPoker.com.

October 18 - Betfair postpones its planned float on the London Stock Exchange.

October 18 - The European Betting Association files complaints with the European Commission challenging the gambling monopolies of several European member states.

October 25 - Despite the U.S. government's efforts to keep online gambling advertising from seeing the light of television, numerous stations are again airing "dot-com" ads.

Betfair in Tassie, Leach in DC and Consolidation Everywhere

November 1 - Betfair announces the purchase of Malta-based poker platform Pokerchamps and Denmark-based Aglet Technologies, the company that set up the Poker Champs site. With the move, the British group is on its way to becoming a self-sustaining force in the Internet gaming industry.

November 3 - Tasmanian Premier Paul Lennon announces his cabinet's intention to introduce legislation into Parliament that would potentially permit the licensing of betting exchanges in Australia.

November 3 - PartyGaming confirms that it has bid to acquire Empire Online.

November 14 - U.S. Rep. James Leach breaks 10 months of relative silence in the U.S. House of Representatives on Internet gambling prohibition with a letter urging his colleagues to take action.

November 14 - British Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport Tessa Jowell issues a stern warning to those involved in illegal advertising activities.

November 16 - PartyGaming absorbs two of its skins into the PartyPoker network and completely severs ties with another as negotiations to acquire Empire Online continue.

November 17 - Jamaica's Betting Gaming and Lotteries Commission is forced to abandon its case against online betting company Olympic Sports Data Services and its managing director after its main witness fails to show up in court last week.

November 18 - Rep. Leach introduces his Internet gambling prohibition bill to the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services.

November 21 - Acquisition talks between Empire and Party end, and Empire threatens to sue Party for driving down its price.

November 24 - Tasmania's Legislative Council votes unanimously to pass the Gaming Control Amendment (Betting Exchange) Bill, effectively making Tasmania Australia's first state to adopt a regulatory framework for betting exchanges.

November 28 - Skill Gaming technology firm Fun Technologies enters into an agreement with holding company Liberty Media Corporation whereby Liberty will acquire a majority interest in Fun.

November 29 - The European Parliament votes for the exclusion of gambling activities--lotteries, casinos and all betting transactions--from the Directive on Services in the Internal Market of the 25 EU countries. Those close to the process, however, are quick to point out that the battle is far from finished.

Messing with Monopolies

December 5 - PartyGaming regains its float price of 116p after a tumultuous two-month period in which its shares dropped more than 100p to 71p before slowly rising again.

December 2 - The Dutch Administrative Court of Breda renders a landmark post-Gambelli judgment in the proceedings between the Compagnie Financière Régionale B.V. against The Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Economic Affairs. The court rules that the state monopoly on casino gambling is not effective and that there is no specific evidence to substantiate that the Netherlands' restrictive casino legislation is coherent and consistent.

December 6 - Empire Online files the anticipated legal proceedings against PartyGaming in Gibraltar's High Court. Empire seeks substantial damages--reportedly several hundred million dollars--as well as injunctive relief that could effectively reinstate a prior business contract between the two companies.

December 6 - Ongame e-solutions AB and Betandwin.com Interactive Entertainment AG enter into an MOU through which the former will be acquired by the latter.

December 12 - EC Vice President Gunter Verheugen warns the Netherlands against proceeding with its proposed monopoly scheme for online games of chance, advising that such a policy would not be compatible European Laws that establish the freedom to provide services in other member states.

December 19 - The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission confirms that it is carrying out an investigation of poker legend Doyle Brunson's US$700 million bid on July 8, 2005 to purchase WPT Enterprises.

December 19 - Israeli police initiate an investigation into illegal online gambling advertisements by raiding the offices of Walla!, one of Israel's largest and most popular Web sites.

December 21 - The Slot Machine Association of the semi-autonomous Åland Islands of Finland is reported to Finland's National Bureau of Investigation for violating the Lotteries Act by continuing to take bets from mainland Finns.

January - April

May - August