ONLINE BETS FIRM HIT THE JACKPOT; Gambler who won fortune on site blows half.

The group’s PartyPoker website , which had 438,000 active players during the three months to December, now boasts the biggest pool of players behind PokerStars and Full Tilt.

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The business are also eyeing growth opportunities in Europe this year as well as potential acquisitions and mergers.

The recycled winnings helped the firm push up fourth-quarter revenues 32 per cent, while the sports betting business gained from a higher number of draws after a historic low at the start of the Engl ish Premier League football season.

Chief executive Jim Ryan said: “With some of the world’s largest gaming sites in poker, casino and bingo, and opportunities to further consolidate the online gaming sector, we are confident about our future prospects.”

The company were reported in December to be in talks over a merger with Austrian rivals Bwin, which would create a pounds 2billion internet gaming giant.

The fou r t h qua r ter i s traditionally better for the online gaming sites owing to poorer weather but the firm added that casino and sports betting revenues had been “particularly strong”.

The PartyPoker owners said all four divisions – poker, casino games, bingo and sports betting – showed growth in the three months to December 31 as revenues jumped by almost a third to pounds 87.2million over a year earlier.

Investec analyst Mat thew Gerard said: “An increasing focus on casino and bingo will drive robust revenue growth.”

ONLINE betting company PartyGaming yesterday said revenues had been boosted by a punter pumping almost half of a pounds 3.1million jackpot win back into their slot machines.

The anonymous player scooped the rollover prize on PartyCasino after an overhaul of jackpot rules was carried out earlier in the year to tempt punters with bigger payouts.. Shares rose three per cent yesterday as the f i rm said underlying earnings for 2009 as a whole would be “slightly ahead” of board expectations.

PartyGaming also benefited from a promotional push and higher player retention through improved VIP and loyalty schemes

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