View Full Version : End of Online Gambling?

10-03-2006, 02:37 PM

LONDON, England (Reuters) -- Online gaming firms faced their biggest-ever crisis on Monday after U.S. Congress unexpectedly passed legislation to ban online gaming there, threatening jobs and hitting stocks by as much as 70 percent.

Britain's PartyGaming Plc, operator of leading online poker site PartyPoker.com, and rivals Sportingbet and 888 Plc said they would likely pull out of the United States and warned on future profits.

PartyGaming's shares fell 59 percent by 0725 GMT, while Sportingbet lost 64 percent, 888 was down 45 percent and gaming software provider Playtech fell 55 percent. Austria's bwin.com Interactive Entertainment fell as much as 22 percent in the first few minutes of trading.

U.S. Congress unexpectedly approved a bill early on Saturday that would make it illegal for banks and credit-card companies to make payments to online gambling sites.

The House of Representatives and Senate approved the measure and sent it to President George W. Bush to sign into law. Most analysts think his approval is certain.