Online casino and poker firm PartyGaming has branched out into bookmaking with the £70 million purchase of Gamebookers.

The deal will see PartyGaming paying Gamebookers’ owner, Isle of Man-based Trident Gaming, £55 million on completion and £15 million in 18 months’ time.

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

With the online gambling sector being rocked by the arrest of BetonSports’ former chief executive David Carruthers last month, PartyGaming was keen to emphasise that Gamebookers did not accept bets from the States. 

PartyGaming is also trying to reduce its exposure to the US, its main market, and where there are doubts over online gambling’s legality.

According to the firm, Gamebookers took over 25 million sports bets totalling around £120 million in 2005. As well as its sports betting business, it operates an online casino and poker room.

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,” added Garber.