Ruth Parasol – Founder of PartyGaming
Ruth Parasol – Rich, Beautiful, and Intelligent
Ruth Parasol was born in San Francisco, California and currently lives in the Mediterranean tax haven of Gibraltar. She is known as a drop-dead gorgeous brilliant entrepreneur, a skillful investor, tough negotiator, and who uses her legal training to navigate at the fringes of the law. Her most notable success is the founding of PartyGaming, at which one point was the world’s largest online gaming company. At the peak of her career she was ranked #164 in 2006 on Forbes’ 400 Richest Americans with a net worth of $1.8 billion.
Ruth was born in 1967 to a playboy Jewish Polish father and a Swedish mother. She is the oldest of three sisters, all which have pursued extremely different career paths. As a child she was always very ambitious and looking for ways to excel in life. In High School she was known as “Ruthie Ruthless”. She attended and graduated from Marin Academy High School in 1984, received her B.A. in Business from the University of San Francisco in 1988 and her law degree from Western State University College of Law in 1992.
After receiving her law degree, she worked briefly in a personal injury law practice before joining her entrepreneurial father in his businesses, which consisted mostly of real estate management and phone-sex chat lines.
Quickly after working for her father, Ruth Parasol quickly became heavily involved in the porn adult industry. In 1994, Parasol joined with Seth Warshavsky to start several companies developing adult phone-sex services and internet porn sites. They formed Internet Entertainment Group Ltd. in 1995 and launched an adult rated “peep show” website, Clublove.com. Most are familiar with the Internet Entertainment Group from their distribution of the infamous Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee sex video. Due to litigation threats Parasol decided to sell her 49% ownership in these companies in 1996.
With her internet success and interest, she started to focus heavily on online gambling. In 1997, Parasol launched Starluck Casino Online in the Caribbean focusing on virtual slot machines, blackjack, and other popular gambling games. Shortly after, she met and partnered with software engineer, Anurag Dikshit. At this point, they made an agreement for Dikshit to be her partner in her online casino businesses, and in return Anurag made Ruth a partner in his IT services business in India. Parasol’s expertise was electronic payment processing, website content management, online gaming regulations and international taxation. At the time, little did they know they were about to embark and startup the world’s largest online gaming company, PartyGaming.
In 2001, Parasol and Dikshit launched PartyPoker.com. PartyGaming Plc grew dramatically to over $500 million in annual profits by 2005, and was said to have half the online poker market. Later that year, PartyGaming Plc floated on the London Stock Exchange at a value of $8.46 billion and was admitted to the FTSE 100 list of companies. Ruth Parasol became an instant self-made billionaire.
Unfortunately, in 2006 PartyGaming pulled out of the US market after the passage of anti-gambling legislation by the U.S. Congress in the SAFE Port Act. This legislation had a tremendous negative affect on the company, which resulted in the stock share price dropping by 60%. The company was no longer listed on the prestigious FTSE 100. Around the time of PartyGaming going public and the new gambling laws going into action, Parasol decided to just become a consultant for PartyGaming until December 2006. She remains a majority shareholder along with Dikshit, each owning 32% of PartyGaming.
Due to the new U.S. restricted laws, PartyGaming’s stock dropped 75% by 2007, dropping her off the Forbes’ 400 Richest Americans. Nonetheless, she is still one of the richest women in the world, and I don’t think she will be needing a loan anytime soon.
Today, Parasol is heavily tied into her philanthropic endeavors. She has been married since 2003 and has three children. Ruth is a member of the advisory board of the Bonita Trust. Bonita Trust’s grant-making is focused on non-profit organizations in the areas of health, environment and cultural heritage. The trust also has special interests in using new technologies and Internet solutions to aid charitable programs. Additionally, she has co-founded the DeLeon Family Care Project along with her husband Russ DeLeon, which provides support to community related causes in Israel, Poland, and Spain. They also support the Tel Aviv University, The Museum of The History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, and the Prodean Animal Rescue Center in La Linea, Spain.