Ruth Monicka Parasol founded PartyGaming, the parent company of online poker site PartyPoker.com, in 1997. The company merged with Bwin Interactive in 2010 to form Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment plc., then the world’s largest publicly traded online gaming company. Parasol is the single largest individual stakeholder of Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment. PartyGaming 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 2008, Parasol and her former 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.
Parasol was born in 1967 in San Francisco, California. She is the eldest daughter of Guna Parasol, who is Swedish and Richard Parasol, a Jewish Polish Holocaust survivor who served in the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) in 1953. In the years that followed, Richard travel to the US to studied mechanical engineering at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly). Richard worked as an engineer for several years and then went on to become a successful real estate developer.6
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 services.
In 2003 she married Russ DeLeon in a California ceremony. They moved with their young children to Gibraltar in 2004 where they domiciled themselves and their businesses. They separated in 2010, and they were decreed divorced in early 2014 in Gibraltar. Parasol continues to reside primarily in Gibraltar and to maintain homes in Israel, London and Spain.
Involvement in the gaming industry
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 and her former husband served as consultants to PartyGaming Plc until December 2006, and they sold their remaining shares in 2015.
After the launch of PartyPoker.com in 2001, PartyGaming Plc grew to generate more than $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 of The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, 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.
Parasol Foundation Trust
Parasol is the principal benefactor and a founding member of the International Advisory Board of The Parasol Foundation Trust (formerly known as the Bonita Trust), a Gibraltar-based independent philanthropic organization that was founded 2004. As of 2013, the Trust has given over GBP £20million in donations. The Parasol Trust's grant making focuses on non-profit organizations in the areas of health, the environment and cultural heritage. The Parasol Trust works with organizations such as The Red Cross, The University of Cambridge, Tel Aviv University, Technion University, The Victoria & Albert Museum, The Prince’s Trust and MacMillan Cancer Support. The trust also has a special interest in using new technologies and Internet solutions to aid charitable programs.
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- "Bwin.party shareholders to sell stakes" The Telegraph. Retrieved 2014-5-12.
- Forbes: The 400 Richest Americans. Retrieved September 22, 2006.
- The Sunday Times Rich List
- "The great wealth of China" The Economist
- The Richest People: Richest Women in UK 2012 - Sunday Times Rich List
- "Party Gaming Counts the Cost of US Withdrawal" Poker News.
- "PartyGaming’s Dikshit Pleads Guilty to Web Gambling" Bloomberg. Retrieved 2014-5-12.
- "PartyGaming reaches $105m settlement with US authorities" The Telegraph. Retrieved 2014-5-12.
- "Department of Justice Flip-Flops on Internet Gambling" Forbes. Retrieved 2014-5-12.