MITCH GARBER

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The Telegraph: PartyGaming chief Mitch Garber quits

Partygaming said this morning that chief executive Mitch Garber is quitting the world’s biggest online poker and casino group just as it has returned to profit.

The company said that Mr Garber, a Canadian, will not be renewing his contract beyond May 2009 because he wants to return to North America with his family.

Michael Jackson, PartyGaming’s chairman, said that he was “saddened” by the news of his departure.

It comes as PartyGaming revealed a $6.7m pre-tax profit in the year to the end of December, compared with a $77.4m loss the year before. The Gibraltar-based operator of the PartyPoker and PartyCasino sites was hit by America’s crackdown on internet gambling, and forced to rebuild its business following the introduction of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in October 2006.

The law prevented PartyGaming from taking wagers from the US, which in turn hit revenue. Mr Garber said that although the majority of the company’s revenue was wiped out, the company survived by focusing on increasing its player base, localising its offer by increasing choice of language and currency and by adding games.

Total revenue fell 57pc in 2007 to $476m.

Shares in PartyGaming fell 7pc to 25.5p by late-morning.

By Angela Monaghan

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