Those who are familiar with online gambling are probably acquainted with bwin.party. The company formed in 2011 through a merger between PartyGaming plc and Bwin Interactive Entertainment AG. As the one-time world’s largest publicly-traded online gambling firm, they’re most well-known for the mega-sites PartyPoker.com and the sportsbook bwin. Despite their popularity, bwin.party has been facing financial crisis and is likely to be sold off in the near future. Of those potentially pursuing a purchase, the leading contenders are none other than Amaya Gaming and Playtech. bwin.party Based in Gibralter, yet with a global reach, bwin.party specializes in all kinds of casino games, including sports betting, poker, slots, and bingo. They’re a cutting-edge firm that utilizes multiple venues for delivering their proprietary and third-party games. Though they are better known for bwin and PartyPoker, they are also responsible for PartyCasino, as well as Foxy Bingo, a couple of other popular sites. The company bwin, was originally called betandwin, and was founded in 1997, just as online gambling began to gain in popularity. They were one of the first venues that allowed betters to place wagers duringa sporting event. Their live-betting option helped them gain steam and beat out competition. Though their main draw has always been sports betting, they also once held Ongame, an online poker division, which they sold to Amaya in 2012. They also owned the long-running site, PokerRoom, which was in operation for over a decade. Also born in 1997, but in the Caribbean, PartyGaming brought PartyPoker.com into the mix. Originally, they allowed their software to share a player-base with other poker sites. However, as they grew, they tried to drop their partners. A legal battle ensued, and PartyGaming ended up purchasing one of the partners to avoid further legal issues. This may have aided to the complications of the 2011 merger between bwin and PartyGaming, which reports indicate the conglomerate was just beginning to recover from in 2104. In October 2014, bwin.party’s stock began to rise for seemingly no reason, which caused speculation that something big was coming. Prior to the announcement that the company might be sold, shares had risen 25-percent. Immediately following the news, it rose another 10-percent. Amaya Gaming One of the parties possibly interested in buying out bwin.party is Amaya Gaming. Interestingly enough, they’re responsible for stealing the title of “World’s Largest Publicly-Traded Online Gambling Firm” away from them, too. Amaya was founded in 2004 in Quebec, Canada and has set their sights on generating the most revenue possible ever since inception. Rather than focusing on game design, the company outsources and acquires companies whenever it can to develop a solid online casino platform. Overall, their platform is top-notch and contains everything online gamblers love, plus everything operators need to run a profitable and smooth enterprise. Just months ago, Amaya purchased the parent company of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker for a reported sum of 4.9 billion dollars. Whether Amaya can scrape together the cash needed for another buyout so soon remains to be seen. However, because they’re so well-versed in acquisitions, it’s quite possible that if it can be done, they will. Playtech On the other hand, Playtech has a slightly different business model. The company was founded in 1999 in Estonia by a group of people who were experts in numerous fields. They, too, host a platform of online casino games, however, they’re heavy into designing their own software. Playtech has agreements with HBO, Marvel, MGM, and NBC and has produced some of the hottest licensed games, including Sopranos, Spiderman, X-Men and The Mummy. Though they don’t have quite as many acquisitions under their belt as Amaya does, Playtech is no stranger to buying and selling entities in an attempt to gain an edge on the market. Recently, they sold off their stake in William Hill Online for a reported 425 million pounds, and it was rumored they were looking at Ladbrokes. Playtechonly just announced that they were in the process of raising over 300 million pounds, which certainly makes them a solid competitor if it comes down to a bidding war for bwin.party. With that said, bwin.party is being very tight-lipped. They aren’t announcing who they’re communicating with, only that they are in talks with several interested parties. Moreover, they may not be looking for a total-buyout either. Oftentimes, the larger firms sell off a portion or division of their company, so they can focus on one thing. Perhaps the whole of bwin.party will go to the highest bidder, or perchance Amaya only has eyes for PartyPoker, or Playtech for bwin. Maybe an unnamed entity will swoop in and snatch them up, or perhaps they won’t be sold at all. For now, bwin.party, Amaya Gaming, and Playtech are all keeping silent.