Ruth Parasol: PartyGaming Founder
Ruth Parasol is a self-made billionaire and the majority shareholder of PartyGaming PLC. Parasol was once ranked 197 of Forbes 400 richest Americans and in 2010, she was ranked 15th on the list of the world's richest self-made women.
Parasol has a background in business and law which helped her develop PartyGaming, which specializes in online poker, bingo, sports betting, and casino games. Through innovation and hard work, she was able to launch PartyPoker.com in 2001 which is when her company really took off. It's still a very popular gambling site today along with PartyCasino.com and PartySports.com.
Ruth Monicka Parasol was born in San Francisco in 1967 to her mother, Guna Parasol and her father, Richard Parasol who was a Jewish Polish Holocaust survivor. She was the oldest of three sisters, to whom she is still close with today.
Parasol excelled in school and was always at the top of her class. She graduated from Marin Academy High School in 1984, and then went on to the University of San Francisco where in four years she earned her Bachelor's degree in business. Parasol continued on to Law school, receiving her law degree from Western State University of Law in 1992.
Her first job after college was working for a small personal injury law firm where she learned a lot, but was not paid very much. She left the firm, and spent a couple years working for her father who owned businesses in real-estate management and the audiotex business, which provided customers with horoscope, trivia, tarot, and adult services over the phone.
Road to Success in the Gambling Industry
Inspired by her father, Parasol had a huge desire to run her own business. In 1995, she got that opportunity when she teamed up with Seth Warshavsky to create the Internet Entertainment Group Ltd which focused primarily on a field which Parasol was very familiar with: the adult industry.
They ran multiple phone sex hotlines and porn sites that are most famous for their leak of the Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee sex video. Just one year later, Parasol sold her shares in the company due to a fear of being sued as a result of the distribution of that video.
Parasol decided it was best to leave the Adult industry for good and soon discovered the great potential for profit in the gambling industry. With a background in the laws and regulation of gambling which she came across in her studies at law school to a background in website layout and design from her previous work, the gambling industry was a perfect fit for her.
With the help of Anurag Dikshit who created the software for her sites, Parasol launched Starluck Casino, her first online casino that was operated out of the Carribbean. Dikshit soon became an official partner to Parasol and PartyGaming, and in 2001 they launched PartyPoker.com.
PartyPoker.com was an instant success, and by 2005 they had reached their peak at over $500 million dollars in profit that year. It even soared high on the London Stock Exchange reaching the FTSE 100 list, because of its high market capitalization.
Unfortunately, 2006 was a troublesome year for PartyGaming, because the United States issued the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), forcing PartyGaming to close their doors to US customers. This devastated the company's revenue, and their shares dropped in value nearly sixty percent. At the end of the year Parasol resigned from her position at PartyGaming, but still owns many shares in the company today.
In 2003, Parasol married Russ Deleon, a Harvard Law School graduate who worked at PartyGaming under Parasol for two years prior to their marriage. They had three children together before getting divorced in 2010. Deleon still owns many shares of PartyGaming as a result of the divorce agreements.
Parasol feels as if it's her mission to reach communities that need help in the areas of culture, environment, and health, so she founded the Parasol Foundation Trust (Bonita). Through this trust she helps the American Red Cross, the University of Cambridge, the Prodean Animal Rescue Center, and many other organizations across the world. Over $20 million dollars has been distributed to regions in need through this trust fund.
Author: Wesley Burns
Updated: March 2015