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Bradley Vallerius

Bradley  Vallerius
Bradley has been researching and writing about the business and law of internet gaming since 2003. His work has covered all aspects of the industry, including technology, finance, advertising, taxation, poker, betting exchanges, and laws and regulations around the world. Bradley can be reached through his website www.FortheBettorGood.com.

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PartyPoker Founders Crack 'Forbes' Rich List

25 Sep 2006

By Bradley Vallerius
Two people on Forbes magazine's annual list of the 400 richest Americans built their fortune by blazing a trail in online gambling. PartyPoker.com founders (and husband and wife) J. Russell DeLeon and Ruth Parasol are tied for 197th on Forbes' list with an estimated net worth of $1.8 billion each. Partypoker.com is the world's largest online gambling site in terms of revenue and number of players.

The two began their Internet gambling endeavor with the launch of Starluck Casino in 1997. The following year they met Anurag Dikshit, who began writing the multiplayer poker software that became PartyPoker upon its launch in 2001. The PartyPoker network currently has more than 1.2 million active players.

DeLeon and Parasol became billionaires in 2005 when PartyGaming went public on the London Stock Exchange. The IPO was the largest in London since 2001 and valued the company at about $9 billion. Today DeLeon and Parasol serve as advisors to PartyGaming. Dikshit and marketing director Vikrant Bhargava, both Indian nationals who own part of PartyGaming, have also amassed impressive fortunes. Both were named to the Sunday Times' Asian Rich List in April 2006, with Dikshit's fortune being estimated at $3.2 billion and Bhargava's at $1.1 billion.

Parasol, now 39, began her career as a legal consultant to her father's phone-sex-chat business before moving with DeLeon, now 40, to Gibraltar to found the gambling business.

Although no others on Forbes' list of richest Americans obtained their wealth through online gambling, several others made their fortunes through brick-and-mortar casino businesses, including Sheldon Adelson, Las Vegas Sands Corp. (ranked third with a net worth of $20.5 billion); Kirk Kerkorian, MGM Mirage (26th, $9 billion); Donald Trump, Trump Entertainment (tied for 94th, $2.9 million); Stephen Wynn, Wynn casinos (tied for 107th, $2.6 billion); Phillip Ruffin, New Frontier (ties for 278th, $1.4 billion); William Boyd, Boyd Gaming (tied for 322nd, $1.2 billion); and William Hilton, Hilton hotels and casinos (tied for 374th, $1 billion).

ParytPoker empire growing

PartyGaming is on its way to becoming a one-stop-shop for online gambling entertainment. In addition to PartyPoker.com, the company also operates PartyCasino.com, PartyBingo.com, and backgammon wagering site PartyGammon.com. The company's integrated platform allows customers to use one single account for all of its properties.

In August, PartyGaming purchased European online sportsbook Gamebookers.com. The sportsbook is not accepting wagers from American bettors because of the uncertain legal situation surrounding online sports betting in the U.S. As a result, PartyGaming has begun a marketing push to increase awareness of the Party brand of gaming outside the U.S. Americans contribute about 77 percent of the company's overall revenue.

 
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