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Coordinates: 36°08′33″N 5°21′31″W / 36.142633°N 5.358695°W / 36.142633; -5.358695

PartyGaming plc
Type Public
Founded 1997
Headquarters Suite 711, Europort, Gibraltar
Key people Rod Perry, Chairman
Jim Ryan, CEO
Industry Online Gaming
Revenue $472.9 million (2008)
Operating income $77.9 million (2008)
Net income $66.9 million (2008)

PartyGaming Plc (LSE: PRTY) is an online gambling company, best known for its online poker room It is headquartered in Gibraltar and quoted on the London Stock Exchange. PartyGaming Plc was founded in 1997 with the launch of Starluck Casino. Prior to passage of anti-online gambling legislation by the U.S. Congress, PartyGaming Plc was the world's largest online poker brand (based on ring game revenue and number of players). Its market share has diminished since then but it remains the fourth largest online poker room in the world.[1]



Early years

PartyGaming was founded in 1997[2] as a network of gambling sites operated by Ruth Parasol in the Caribbean. The network eventually operated under an umbrella company called iGlobalMedia, which then changed its name to PartyGaming. PartyGaming's flagship site,, was launched in 2001.[2] Its primary shareholders are Parasol, Group Operations Director Anurag Dikshit, Marketing Director Vikrant Bhargava (who joined the company in 1998 and 1999, respectively), and Russ DeLeon (Parasol's husband, Harvard attorney and serial entrepreneur).

In the 1990's, Las Vegas consultant and actuary Michael Shackleford ran a computer trial of the first blackjack and roulette games offered by the Company. Shackleford stated that the "results clearly showed they (the games) weren't fair". Ruth Parasol's spokesman Jon Mendelsohn acknowledged that the chances had "tipped too much toward the house", but attributed the problems to "software flaws", not rigging. It led to the development of their own proprietary software rather than using external platforms.[3]


The foursome sold over 23% of their combined shares to take the company public on the London Stock Exchange in June 2005.[4] The initial offer price of 116p valued the company at £4.64 billion[2] ($8.46 billion). Within a month the share price rose to make the value of the company exceed twelve billion dollars. In early September 2005 a cautious statement about future growth prospects saw the shares fall by a third in a day, but the same week the company was promoted to the FTSE 100 Index. By the end of November 2005 the stock had regained its original IPO value. During the IPO, no new shares of PartyGaming were issued, and the company did not receive any additional capital as a result. Rather, shares merely changed hands with the four shareholders transferring some of their shares to investors.

Post IPO

Dikshit and Bhargava stepped down from the company's board in May 2006. Dikshit announced that he would remain with the company as the Chief Operating Officer; Bhargava would continue as an advisor and shareholder of the company while pursuing other business interests.[5]

In February 2006 PartyGaming introduced a new integrated platform,[2] enabling multiple games to be played without requiring customers to log in each time and deposit funds in separate accounts. An online backgammon site,, was launched in mid-2006.[2] In August 2006 PartyGaming acquired Antigua and Barbuda registered sports betting operator Gamebookers which focuses on the European market.[6]

U.S. legislation

On September 29, 2006, the U.S. Congress passed the Safe Port Act and attached unrelated anti-gambling language to the act. This legislation is known as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.

On October 2, 2006, PartyGaming announced that it would "suspend all real money gaming business with US customers" in light of the passage of the Safe Port Act.[7] George W. Bush signed the act into law on October 13, and PartyGaming suspended offerings of real-money games to U.S. players. Free play games and non-US customers were not affected.[8]

As a result of this news being released to investors, PartyGaming's publicly traded stock dropped almost 60% in 24 hours. The company was moved from the FTSE 100 to the FTSE 250 Index on October 11.[9]

In April 2009 the company made a settlement with the United States government where they agreed to pay a penalty of $105 million over the next four years as part of a “non-prosecution agreement”. As part of the deal, Party put its name to a “statement of facts” in which it admits for the first time that, before October 2006, it had targeted US citizens, resulting in the processing of transactions that were “contrary to certain US laws”.[10] was launched in 2001 and has since grown to be one of the largest online poker card rooms. The site is endorsed by Mike Sexton, the host of the World Poker Tour television show. The domain attracted at least 3.6 million visitors annually by 2008 according to a study.[11] The site offers various forms of Texas Hold'em and Stud poker.

Split with "skin" partners

In its early days, PartyGaming entered into several marketing partnerships that allowed companies such as Empire Online, who ran Empire Poker, to share in a common pool of poker players. Players could access the PartyGaming network either through the software itself or through the software of one of PartyGaming's "skin" partners.

In mid-2005, PartyGaming made various moves to ringfence its own players from those of the "skin" partners. The company began to explore mergers, buyouts, and other options. In October of that year, PartyGaming launched an upgraded software system that cut off the "skin" partners from the main pool of players, and left the "skin" players on the old system.

In November 2005, offer discussions with Empire Online were terminated, and in December Empire Online confirmed that it had started legal proceedings against PartyGaming in the High Court of Gibraltar. In February 2006 the two companies announced a US$250 million settlement deal; PartyGaming agreed to acquire Empire's "skin" operations, and Empire dropped the suit.[12] In December 2006, PartyGaming announced the acquisition of the remaining assets of Empire Online.[13]

PartyGaming also acquired the operations of former "skin" partners IntertopsPoker and MultiPoker, in separate private transactions for undisclosed amounts.

PartyGaming operates a free-play site, Although no money is exchanged, an age limit of 18 (or 21 in some states) is still enforced. Players on the .net site play the same games as players playing the free games from within the software client. PartyGammon has been established as an alternative revenue stream. It capitalized on currently available AI engines for BackGammon and created their own bots which played at an extremely efficient level to leave the human opponent very little chance of winning.

World Poker Tour

In November 2009, PartyGaming announced its acquisition of the World Poker Tour from WPTE.[14]


External links

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