Since PartyGaming, the parent company of Party Poker, released their most recent economic report, redundancy rumors have dogged the firm. These dour predictions, unfortunately, appear to have be coming true with PartyGaming confirming that there will be job cuts at both its head office in Gibraltar and in the UK. They also announced that staff in the UK have entered a 30-day consultation period, although they were at pains to make it clear that specific job losses are yet to be agreed upon.
The most drastic predictions were made by a Gibraltan newspaper, which reported that PartyGaming were preparing to axe up to a third of the 320 employees in their Gibraltar office. These reports have been dismissed by company spokesmen who say that the actual job losses will be “nowhere near the figure being mentioned in the Gibraltarian papers.” Nevertheless jobs look set to be cut from both the IT and customer service departments with both departments moving to cheaper centers of labour, such as India and Bulgaria.
PartyGaming have claimed that their dramatic change in fortunes is a direct result of the “unlevel playing field” created by the UIGEA in America. While PartyGaming chose to withdraw services to US customers, other companies have continued to operate within the states without punishment. The current declining economic climate must also share some of the blame. Even sites like Bodog, who still operate within the US, recently announced that they would be laying off 300 of their employees in North America.
Recently released traffic numbers seem to indicate that Party Poker is falling behind its competitors, although company representatives have rubbished the figures as inaccurate.
A decrease in both staff and customers was not the only piece of bad news facing PartyGaming this week. An American court has ruled that the company infringed upon the copyright of WMS Gaming in their use of the trademarks ‘Jackpot Party’ and ‘Super Jackpot Party’. Although, in 2007, a court ruled that WMS were owed $2.7 million in damages, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals have decreed that this sum did not factor in the profits made by Party Poker over the period of their infringement (2004-2006). As a result of this ruling PartyGaming may be required to pay WMS as much as $287m.