Amidst recent turmoil the World Poker Tour was sold this past week to Gamynia Limited for just over $9,000,000 and a percentage of future sales. The Tour, owned and operated by World Poker Tour Enterprises, was the brainchild of TV Producer and CEO of WPTE Steven Lipscomb, who remarked, “We believe this transaction will enable the WPT to realise its full potential across both its existing businesses and the lucrative online gaming market.”
The WPT is one of, if not the longest running poker show on television today. Rivaling ESPN’s WSOP broadcasts, WPT Tournaments could be seen on the Travel Channel, GSN, and the Fox Sports Network. The WPT Championship, typically held at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, has been won by poker greats Carlos Mortensen, Tuan Le, and David Chiu. The WPT Player of the Year, awarded to those with the best overall performance in all events, includes Howard Ledered, Erick Lindgren, and Daniel Negreanu.
The tour had been struggling for some time after a 2006 lawsuit headed by WSOP Champions Chris Ferguson and Greg Raymer, who took the WPT to Court. While the suit was settled outside of the court room, the Tour struggled amidst the bad publicity. The WPT has seen a steady drop in attendance of their events, some of which can be blamed on the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act passed in 2006. With fewer players able to satellite in through internet tournaments, the tour has seen nearly a 40% drop in attendance of some bigger events.
Looking towards the future, Gamynia Limited along side Hardway Investments hope to turn things around. Lipscomb feels Hardway is just the company for the job, stating, “Of particular importance for our partners is the fact that Hardway Investments has an established track record of creating revenues and value in the online gaming marketplace.” Throughout the sale the Tour has continued to operate, and next week finds itself at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles for the Legends of Poker Series.