San Francisco, California
Ruth Monicka Parasol founded PartyGaming, the parent company of online poker site PartyPoker.com, in 1997. The company issued its initial public offering (IPO) on the London Stock Exchange in June 2005. In 2006, Parasol was ranked 197 on The Forbes List 400. In 2007, she dropped off the Forbes 400 List due to the 75% drop in value of PartyGaming shares. In 2008, Parasol and husband Russ DeLeon were ranked 97 on the Sunday Times Rich List. In 2010, The Economist magazine ranked her 15th of the world's richest self-made women. In 2012, The Sunday Times List ranked her 14th among UK women.
Ruth Parasol was born in 1967 in San Francisco, California. She is the eldest daughter of Richard Parasol, a Jewish Polish Holocaust survivor, and Guna Parasol, who is Swedish. She grew up in Mill Valley, California, graduated from Marin Academy High School in 1984, and received a BA in Business from University of San Francisco in 1988.
After graduating from Western State University College of Law in 1992, Parasol embarked on a short career in business with her entrepreneurial father, working in his real estate management business, and in his audiotex business, which provided horoscope, tarot, trivia, chat and adult services over the telephone.
Involvement in the gaming industry
Ruth Parasol launched Starluck Casino Online in the Caribbean in 1997. In 1998, she made software engineer Anurag Dikshit a partner in her business, which later became known as PartyGaming Plc. In turn, Dikshit made Parasol a partner in his IT services business based in India. Vikrant Bhargava and Russ DeLeon joined as principals of Party Gaming in 2000 and 2001 respectively. Parasol served as a consultant to PartyGaming Plc until December 2006 and remains its largest shareholder today.
After the launch of PartyPoker.com in 2001, PartyGaming Plc grew dramatically, generating over $500 million in annual profits by 2005. In June 2005, PartyGaming Plc floated its IPO on the London Stock Exchange at a value of £4.64 billion ($8.46 billion), and in September of that year was admitted to the FTSE 100 list of companies. In October 2006, PartyGaming publicly withdrew from the US market after the passage The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), anti-gambling legislation approved by the U.S. Congress as part of the SAFE Port Act. As a result, the company’s share price dropped 60% and the company subsequently exited the FTSE 100.
In 2008, Anurag Dikshit pleaded guilty to the Federal Wire Act, agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and personally paid $300 million to the United States Justice Department as part of his plea. In 2009, PartyGaming entered a non-prosecution agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice and paid a fine of $105 million. In 2011, the Justice Department reversed its earlier position, determining that the Wire Act does not apply to online poker and casino games, only to sports betting.
Involvement in the adult entertainment industry
Between 1994 and 1996, Ruth Parasol joined with Seth Warshavsky to start several companies developing adult phone sex services. In 1995, they formed Internet Entertainment Group Ltd., and launched an adult rated “peep show” website, Clublove.com. In 1996, Parasol sold her interest in these companies. Through 2004 she continued to attend industry trade show gatherings to promote her online casino to affiliates and webmasters.
Ruth Parasol is a founding member of the International Advisory Board of The Bonita Trust, a Gibraltar-based independent philanthropic organization that was founded 2004. Bonita’s grant making focuses on non-profit organizations in the areas of health, the environment and cultural heritage. Bonita works with organizations such as The Red Cross, The University of Cambridge, Tel Aviv University, The Victoria & Albert Museum, and MacMillan Cancer Support. The trust also has a special interest in using new technologies and Internet solutions to aid charitable programs.
In addition to her philanthropic work with The Bonita Trust, Parasol also supports community-related causes in Israel, Poland, and Spain, including Tel Aviv University, The Museum of The History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, and The Prodean Animal Rescue Center in La Linea, Spain.
- Forbes: The 400 Richest Americans. Retrieved September 22, 2006.
- Forbes: Dropouts:The 400 Richest Americans. Retrieved October 8, 2007.
- The Sunday Times Rich List
- The Economist: The great wealth of China
- The Richest People: Richest Women in UK 2012 - Sunday Times Rich List
- Europe Card Player: Euro Poker News: Party Gaming Results Show UIGEA Impact
- Bonita Trust, Gibraltar - philanthropic organization
- Bonita Trust Forms International Advisory Board: Former Indian Foreign Secretary and Clinton White House Advisor Join