LACOE owns WPTE (World Poker Tour). The excitment about Party Poker is because it is a indicator of the perception of the potential for the online poker market.
It is important to note that Party Poker gets a lot of revenue from the US. The US govt's stance is that online gambling is illegal. There is a bill pending (the Kyle bill) that would choke off the flow of funds from US customers to all online gambling sites by prohibiting banking transactions to be made into gambling purchases.
WPTE's model in contrast is to operate without taking any bets from the US.
It is also important that opening and running an online poker site is not rocket science and new companies are coming online every day. One Big Screwup could take Party down from first position.