IGT Shuts Down European Online PokerPublished September 21, 2012 by OCR Editor
World's largest slot-machine says regulatory changes killed its Europe business model
IGT, the world's largest slot-machine maker, this week shut down its online poker operation in Europe, blaming regulatory changes from country to country for killing its business model.
IGT shuts Europe online poker
Patti Hart, CEO of the online gambling giant, told news agencies that IGT was halting online poker because some European countries had barred residents from playing with customers in other nations. She said the business shifted from dot-com to dot-country, reducing profitability and making the product less interesting.
Reno, Nevada-based IGT paid $115 million last year for Swedish online poker provider Entraction Holding. It still plans to offer online bingo, video slots and sports betting throughout Europe, so customers of operators using those IGT platforms need not worry.
Warning for US
Hart said that IGT's Europe struggles should also provide a lesson for the United States, where online poker legalization is progressing on a state-by-state basis without any approval at the federal level. She said companies planning to offer online poker in the US would need to decide for themselves whether the legal situation works for them.
Nevada, where IGT is based, became the first state to authorize in-state internet gambling last year. Several companies are already applying for licenses in the gambling haven, including giant land-based casino operators Caesars Entertainment and MGM.