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PartyGaming CFO Hits Out At Company's Detractors

by Jason Gorringe, Tax-News.com, London

06 December 2005


Martin Weigold, Chief Financial Officer of the recently-floated online gaming giant PartyGaming has hit back at the company's detractors in the months since it listed on the London Stock Exchange, and defends the firm's decision to operate from Gibraltar.

In an interview with Accountancy Age, Mr Weigold stated that:

"I was disappointed that critics always wanted to focus on the negative messages when they could have focused on the fact that here was a business that was the European equivalent of a Google or an eBay."

PartyGaming completed the largest ever flotation on the London Stock Exchange in June this year. The firm's four founders and owners, Anurag Dikshit, Ruth Parasol, Russ DeLeon and Vikrant Bhargave, pocketed a total of £1 billion (EUR 1.5 billion) by selling parts of their stake in the eight-year-old company.

The company was the subject of much negative publicity ahead of the float as analysts pointed to concerns over the legal situation in the United States, where much internet gambling is outlawed. PartyGaming, which operates the PartyPoker website, derives around 90% of its income from US-based punters. Legislation has been proposed by Arizonan Senator John Kyl to prevent banks from handling online gaming transactions, although Kyl has failed several times to gather the necessary support to push through the legislation.

The company has also been attacked for its decision to locate offshore in Gibraltar, a move which Mr Weigold defends.

"Gibraltar has a good licensing regime for online gaming, which did not exist in the UK when the company was taking a position. Gibraltar is a well-respected offshore centre and it’s not just online gaming companies that are based there," Weigold stated.

"The amount of bandwidth available in a location is an issue, as is the tax regime, so it is not driven by one factor," he added.

A comprehensive report in our Intelligence Report series examining offshore e-commerce and online gaming is available in the Lowtax Library at http://www.lowtaxlibrary.com/asp/subs_reports.asp and a description of the report can be seen at http://www.lowtaxlibrary.com/asp/description_report6.asp

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