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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 August 2006, 08:06 GMT 09:06 UK
Partygaming buys online-bets firm
Partygaming, laptop and cards
Partygaming is seeking more customers from outside the US
Online gaming firm Partygaming has said it will buy betting company Gamebookers for 102m euros (69m; $130m).

Gamebookers offers online sports betting and has more than 50,000 active customers in 140 countries.

However, the company does not operate in the US, where the legality of betting is being questioned.

In July, US authorities arrested the head of rival firm Betonsports, David Carruthers. Mr Carruthers was subsequently sacked by the firm.

He and seven others pleaded not guilty to racketeering and other charges.

Cross-selling opportunities

Partygaming - which owns gaming sites such as PartyPoker.com and EmpirePoker.com - generates about three-quarters of its revenue from customers in the US.

It is now trying to reduce its dependence on the US market.

"The acquisition of Gamebookers is an important step forward in diversifying Partygaming's business from both a product and geographic perspective," said Partygaming chief executive Mitch Garber.

"We believe that sports betting will be a valuable addition to our integrated gaming platform, which we expect to provide excellent cross-selling opportunities for our expanding base of customers outside the US."

Partygaming has bought Gamebookers from Isle of Man-based Trident Gaming.

Gamebookers has an Antiguan gaming licence and the bulk of its operations are run from.

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