When the Bush administration passed the UIGEA into law, the operators of Party Gaming ran for the proverbial hills. With the new law all but blocking casino operations from completing financial transactions with American gamblers, the many members of the online slot machine and gambling industry faced a singular, difficult choice. They could stick around the American market and face the many challenges implicit in trying to circumvent a law that is ridiculous in its lack of clarity, or they could withdraw from the United States market and pursue their profits elsewhere. Party Gaming, which had previously done the lion’s share of its business with Americans, made the latter choice, and is now struggling as a result.
Party Gaming now faces competition from those online slots and casino gambling sites that are still welcoming American players (whether legally or otherwise), and is fighting an uphill battle to attract non-U.S. gamblers away from competitors who have built relationships with these players for years and years. With profits hemorrhaging, the company has had little choice but to trim some of its staff. Party Gaming’s central operations are stationed in the microscopic British territory of Gibraltar, and it is estimated that as many as three hundred and twenty staff could become unemployed because of the company’s troubles as it struggles for a foothold in the hyper-competitive European market.
The pending layoffs were announced by two European newspapers; Party Gaming itself has declined to comment on the situation. Word is that things are pretty tense in Gibraltar right now.