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PartyGaming Mulling Move For Victor Chandler

by Jason Gorringe, Tax-News.com, London

22 August 2006


Online gaming giant PartyGaming plc has emerged as a frontrunner in the race to acquire Gibraltar-based sports bookmaker Victor Chandler as the firm attempts to shore up its non-US client base.

According to reports in the British media, PartyGaming is set to dip further into its GBP500 million warchest, raised on flotation in the London Stock Exchange last year, further diversifying its business into the sportsbetting market.

Victor Chandler's business, said to be worth about GBP400 million, has its main markets in the UK, Europe and Asia. Significantly, the company has no market in the US, where regulators are cracking down on internet gambling, which is technically illegal under the 1961 Wire Act.

The news comes soon after PartyGaming, itself based in Gibraltar, announced its acquisition of the business and assets of Gamebookers, an online sports betting business based in Bulgaria, from Trident Gaming PLC for an estimated net cash consideration of EUR102 million.

Established in 1999, Gamebookers provides online sports betting in 12 languages and has more than 250,000 registered customers in 140 countries and more than 53,000 active customers. It also has no market in the US, thus helping PartyGaming to dilute its heavy dependence on US punters, which account for about 80% of its revenues.

Founded in 1946, Victor Chandler built a large chain of bookmakers across the United Kingdom. In 1999, the company pioneered tax-free betting in the UK by moving its operation offshore and launching telephone betting, which was soon followed by Internet wagering via the company's website. The 10% winnings tax was subsequently abolished by the UK government in 2001.

Victor Chandler is also being stalked by three private equity groups, two based in the UK and one based in the US, according to a report in the Times newspaper.

A comprehensive report in our Intelligence Report series looking at conducting tax efficient e-business in Gibraltar 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_report12.asp

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