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Jim Ryan, co-CEO of Gibraltar-based Bwin.party Digital Entertainment, said in a statement he would leave the world's largest online poker company Jan. 15.
In October, Ryan was a keynote speaker at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, delivering an address in support of the U.S. legalizing online poker.
Bwin.party was created in March 2011 when Bwin Interactive Entertainment and PartyGaming PLC merged. The company, which is publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange, produced more than $1.06 billion in revenues in 2011.
Norbert Teufelberger, the company's other co-CEO, will assume the new role of group CEO.
"As we approach the final stages of our merger integration I am immensely proud of what we have achieved and know that with Norbert at the helm, the business is in excellent hands and is particularly well-placed for the future," Ryan said in a statement.
A year ago, Bwin.party signed agreements with MGM Resorts International and Boyd Gaming Corp. to jointly own an online business that offers poker to U.S. customers under the companies' various brands.
Representatives for MGM Resorts and Boyd Gaming declined to comment on Ryan's pending departure.
Bwin.party has applied for an interactive gaming license in Nevada. State gaming regulators are expected to consider the matter in the spring.
The company also has an online poker agreement with the United Auburn Indian Tribe in Northern California.
"The transition to regulated markets is continuing and we are entering a period of intense product and technology innovation that will now be led by Norbert Teufelberger, whose experience, as one of the pioneers in online gaming, is probably unrivalled." Bwin.party Non-Executive Chairman Simon Duffy said in a statement.
Ryan said he plans to return home to Canada.
Last month in Belgium, news surfaced that Teufelberger was questioned by police in Brussels. The company said Teufelberger "complied voluntarily with a request to attend an interview with representatives from the Belgium Gambling Commission." The meeting lasted two hours.
Las Vegas gaming attorney Frank Schreck, who represents Bwin.party, said the events surrounding the questioning of Teufelberger were viewed as a mix-up.
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