Parasol and de Leon sell their remaining stake in bwin party
Ruth Parasol and Russ de Leon, two of the four historic founders of PartyPoker before it became part of the bwin party entity in 2011, have decided to sell the remaining 7.16% shareholding they hold in bwin party as the company applies for an igaming licence in New Jersey.
The news of their intention to sell comes as the couple divorce and is part of their wish to not be subjected to the licensing conditions in New Jersey, where gaming regulators require substantial shareholders to submit individual licence applications, which both de Leon and Parasol don’t wish to do for privacy reasons.
bwin party submitted its licence application to operate igaming products in the Garden State in July in partnership with the Borgata Casino, which is owned by MGM and Boyd Gaming, bwin party’s US partners signed in 2011.
Parasol and de Leon’s stake is worth £140m and will be sold “in one transaction or a series of transactions, over the 24 month period commencing on the date that the first online wagers are allowed to be taken in New Jersey under the new regulations” the company said in a statement.
Ruth Parasol was the most talked about executive when PartyGaming, as it was then known, listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2005 with a market value of around £5bn, due to her making large amounts of money running telephone sex lines and fiercely protecting her privacy and refusing to give interviews to the press.
When the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act passed in the US in 2006, effectively banning online poker and forcing PartyGaming to withdraw from the market, which enabled PokerStars to become the uncontested leader on the online poker market, she refused to settle with the Department of Justice or acknowledge wrongdoing, a stance that led to a major rift with then chief executive Mitch Garber.