Online poker has been a slow go in the United States, but that isn’t stopping 888 Holdings from continuing to invest in the market. On Tuesday, the gaming firm announced that it has acquired the remaining 53 percent in the All American Poker Network (AAPN) and will now own the entire thing.
888 formed AAPN in early 2013, before any online poker rooms even launched in the United States. It was a joint venture with the Avenue Capital Group, the company from which 888 has purchased the rest of the network for $28 million.
The idea behind the All American Poker Network was to create a nationwide network of poker rooms, all running 888’s software. That has happened somewhat, but not nearly to the extent that either 888 or Avenue Capital had hoped.
The first site on the network was supposed to be a Treasure Island casino-branded poker room. 888 and the Las Vegas casino announced a partnership before the formation of AAPN, but Treasure Island never launched a poker room.
888 is the only operator with footholds in all three regulated states for online poker, but the network of sorts has never been referred to as the All American Poker Network. WSOP.com, the only online poker still in existence in Nevada (Ultimate Poker was the first, but that has gone belly-up), uses 888’s software.
WSOP.com in New Jersey also uses 888’s software, as does 888’s own site, 888poker, as one would expect.
There are three racetrack-based poker sites in Delaware, all of which run 888 software. Delaware and Nevada have shared player liquidity for a few years and in May, New Jersey joined to give 888 a true cross-country online poker network.
Pennsylvania is expected to come online soon; 888 has contracted with Harrah’s (not surprisingly, as Harrah’s owns WSOP.com) to offer online poker. When and if Pennsylvania forms a compact with the other states, AAPN will be the only network with sites in all regulated states.
In a press release, 888’s Chief Executive Office Itai Frieberger said:
“The acquisition of the remaining stake in AAPN is an important strategic step towards 888 achieving its exciting long-term potential in the US.
Taking outright ownership of AAPN gives 888 additional operational, technological and commercial flexibility to develop innovative and exciting new partnerships and launch in new states – through both B2B and B2C channels – as and when future regulation allows.
This acquisition places 888 in an even better position to take advantage of the significant growth opportunities in the US and create additional value for our shareholders.”
“The AAPN joint venture has been a very successful endeavour for the Group. It has afforded us the flexibility and financial capability to build a position in the regulated US market over the last five years whilst also investing in other global regulated markets. I would like to thank Avenue Capital for being fantastic partners in this venture since 2013.”
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