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PARADISE POKER SOLD TO SPORTINGBET

Year 2004
Price $297,500,0001
Asset Paradise Poker
Buyer
Status Network closed. Poker skin moved to IPN.
Software Yes
Success

Paradise Poker was the first big poker room which was sold in online poker history. Paradise Poker had been the biggest poker room in the world between 1999-2003.

Read our article about the Paradise Poker Era.

There were several notable things about Sportingbet’s acquisition of Paradise Poker.

Sportingbet did not move its poker players to the newly acquired poker platform. The 12 different sports books promoted the old IPN skin while only one site promoted the Paradise Poker brand. Sportingbet remained status quo and still preferred to promote its IPN/Boss Media skins despite owning one of the world’s more reputable poker softwares.

What was more surprising was that the UIGEA seemed to be a big surprise to Sportingbet despite several politicians had been fighting to ban online poker for years. We do acknowledge that nobody could predict this event 2 years ahead of time but buying a poker network which is ca 80% US traffic one would think twice about this investment.

Rumor has it that there was a connection between the Paradise Poker owners and Sportingbet board members. Some argue that the people involved in Sportingbet's decision to purchase Paradise Poker was in fact shareholders of Paradise Poker.

We do not dispute that the price was legit since the brand was well-known and revenues must have been huge at the time. The software was brilliant but if Sportingbet did not plan to use the software or keep the American players why spend $297.5 million on this poker network? Sportingbet had no experience running a poker network either so overall it gained nothing from this purchase.

From a Sportingbet shareholder's perspective this was definitely one of the worst decisions in online poker history.


1. sportinglife.com