The co-founder of PartyGaming, parent company of PartyPoker, has recently revealed that he is selling his substantial stake in the firm. Anurag Dikshit (pronounced Dix-it), is set to cash in on the company he joined back in 1998. Forbes has reported that he will sell all of his 28% stake in PartyGaming for a multi-million dollar fee. Dikshit joined PartyGaming a year after it was founded by Ruth Parasol and was the driving force behind its online gaming software. The PartyPoker client in use today owes a great debt to Dikshit’s pioneering work.
The 75 million shares sold so far amount to 66% of his stake in the firm. They have also netted him a cool $350 million, a sizable figure even for a man worth over a billion dollars. PartyGaming’s stocks plummeted 15.6% on the London Stock Exchange following the sale. This means that Dikshit will probably get a little less value for his remaining 9.3% when he eventually cashes it in.
Despite sharing the island of Gibraltar with numerous inordinately rich businessmen and women, Dikshit is reported to enjoy a relatively modest existence. And rather than add the money to his already bulging bank account, the software engineer has pledged to donate all the proceeds to his charity. The Kusuma Trust was established in 2007 by Dikshit and his wife Dr. Soma Pujari. It attempts to aid at-risk children in Gibraltar, India, and the U.K by providing them with education, healthcare, and financial support. This latest windfall should allow it to rapidly expand its operations, with its current bankroll at around $80 million.
Forbes also speculates that his withdrawal from PartyGaming may smooth their re-entry to the U.S. market. PartyGaming is the biggest online gambling company in the world, but sacrificed their place at the top of the online poker tree after withdrawing from the US in 2006. The UIGEA forced out a number of the industry’s big players and PartyPoker was its most high profile casualty. Thanks to a concerted European push, the poker network has regained some of its lost player base and is now the 4th largest in the world.
Anurag Dikshit may have formed a blockade to any potential gaming license, thanks to his criminal conviction in the U.S. Late last year he pleaded guilty to providing illegal gambling services and paid out a $300 million fine as recompense. PartyGaming as a whole engaged in a similar activity earlier this year. Although they did not admit any wrongdoing, Party paid the U.S. government $105 million to avoid prosecution. Many saw this as a deal to pave the way for Party’s return when the UIGEA is eventually toppled.