An Elaborate History of Bwin.Party

Bwin Interactive Entertainment and PartyGaming were both very
popular online gambling sites throughout the 2000s, but when
they decided to merge in 2011, their popularity escalated and
their fan base grew even more rapidly.

They now call themselves Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment.
Bwin and PartyGaming still have their own separate websites as
they specialize in different aspects of gambling, but through
this merger they get to share resources and expand their player
pool and corresponding networks. Below we have provided a
thorough history of Bwin and PartyGaming, while also giving you
details on their merger.

How Bwin Started

Bwin’s history dates back to the late 1990s when the company
called themselves, BetandWin. Although there were twelve men
that were responsible for the start up of this company, there’s
one man in particular that was important to Bwin’s initial
success and that was, Manfred Bodner. After receiving a Bachelor
of Arts in Business and International Studies from Webster
University, Bodner used his business skills to make Bwin a
reality. He especially focused on their marketing techniques and
was responsible for making sure they reached their sales goals.

The team of twelve worked hard and within a year they were
able to launch their first website, which focused mostly on
sports betting. The website flourished as people from all over
the world were curious to learn more about this new company.
Bwin continued to grow and by the turn of the century, they
launched an initial public offering on the Vienna Stock

Expanding even further, less than a year later, they opened
a bookmaking firm called, Simon Bold, in Gibraltar. Due to lower
tax rates, the entire company moved to Gibraltar and many other
online gambling companies soon followed in their footsteps.

Bwin was able to put aside the money they saved from the
lower tax rate and used it to branch out. In 2002, Bwin
introduced the first online live sports betting platform, which
gave customers the opportunity to place bets on sporting events
as they were taking place, an innovative idea that changed the
course of online gambling history forever.

Bwin recognized their player’s passion for poker and started
focusing on developing new and improved software to enhance the
poker games they already offered on their site. In 2005, they
purchased Ongame, a popular poker site that was on the verge of
going out of business.

Changing Their Identity

It wasn’t until 2006 that Bwin officially decided to change
their name from BetandWin to the Bwin name we know today. One of
the co-founders of the company, Manfred Bodner, released this
statement to the press after the company’s transformation.

“In the course of a two-year process, we succeeded in creating a
communication basis by way of the transformation from BetandWin
into the brand platform Bwin, which covers a broad product

Their new identity was formed around the same time that the
United States government released the Unlawful Internet Gambling
Enforcement Act, which forced Bwin to close their doors to all
US customers. This was going to lead to a huge loss in their
yearly profits if they didn’t act fast, so they started looking
for areas where the popularity of online gambling was on the up

By 2009, Bwin found just what they were looking for; they
purchased Italy’s best online gambling site, Gioco Digitale, for
around $56 million in cash and for 2.3 million shares of their
company. Bwin also took initiative and started focusing on the
prevention of gambling addiction by financially supporting
Harvard Medical School’s gambling addiction research facilities
and by becoming an active member of the European Gaming and
Betting Association.

Bwin also started sponsoring various teams at this time,
including the Real Madrid and the AC Milan soccer teams. They
continued to expand into other countries and by 2010 they became
the first site to be offered a French gaming license. Thanks to
all of these advancements, Bwin surpassed the 20 million player
mark, clearly proving that they were a company worth partnering
up with.

The Founders of PartyGaming

Unlike in Bwin’s history, there are two main founders of
PartyGaming that we believe are fundamental to learn more about
in order to truly understand the site’s history: Ruth Parasol
and Anurag Dikshit. Let’s start with Parasol; she received her
Bachelor’s Degree in Business from the University of San
Francisco in 1988 and her Law Degree from Western State
University of Law in 1992.

Parasol always wanted to open up her own business and now she
had the education to back up her desires. She first dabbled in
the online pornography field but certain controversies forced
her to move on from it. Having an eye for up and coming
industries, she decided to head over to the online gambling
industry. After studying online gambling regulations and
learning how the payment process works, she started developing
her first website, Starluck Casino Online, which wasn’t as
successful as she hoped it would be. Parasol knew she needed
help and that’s why she partnered up with Anurag Dikshit.

Dikshit had quite an impressive resume, as he had graduated
from the Indian Institute of Technology in 1994 with a
Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Programming and on top of that he
developed software for both Websci and AT&T. Thanks to his
background in software development and design, he was just what
Parasol needed to advance in the online gambling world.

The Expansion of PartyGaming

Parasol, Dikshit, and their newly founded team spend months
developing new games for the site that would later be known as They focused on poker, as they saw the potential
to make a significant amount of money in this particular form of
online gambling.

Before the launch of their site, they had their games tested
by Michael Shackleford, a highly respected casino statistician.
Unfortunately, the results from the test were far from what they
wanted to hear; Shackleford had deemed their games unfair,
claiming that they favored the house over the players.

After making the necessary adjustments to overcome this
issue, PartyPoker was officially launched in 2001. Its
popularity grew quickly and before long it became one of the
world’s largest online poker sites. It wasn’t long before they
were expanding into other forms of gambling, using the same
software for each new site they launched.

They became the site with the largest pool of players, which
in essence attracted even more players to their site. What was
most appealing was the fact that players didn’t have to wait as
long for a game to start, as there were plenty of players online
even during the lower traffic hours of the day.

In less than four years, PartyGaming PLC was making over $500
million in annual profits. In 2005, PartyGaming was floated on
the London Stock Exchange and was valued at over $8 billion. The
company continued to grow by nearly 50% and it looked as if they
had a very promising future. This success story would soon come
to the end though, as new laws in the United States were soon to
be passed that would have a lasting impact on the online
gambling industry.

How the UIGEA Affected PartyGaming

In October of 2006, the Unlawful Internet Gambling
Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was passed, which made it illegal for
gambling sites to process any transactions from US customers.
Even though almost 75% of the company’s revenue came from US
players alone, PartyGaming was forced to close their doors to
all players from the United States.

“This development is a significant setback for our company,
our shareholders, our players, and our industry,”

said Mitch Garber, CEO of PartyGaming PLC. This law was clearly a
devastating blow to the company and in order to compensate for
their huge financial losses, they had to expand.

2009, What a Year!

PartyGaming spent the next two and a half years coming up
with ideas that would help attract new players and increase
their yearly profits. In April 2009, Party Gaming agreed to pay
$105 million to the Department of Justice for trying to target
US citizens prior to the UIGEA in hopes that the DOJ would
eventually allow them to enter the US market in the distant

In November, 2009, Party Gaming purchased the rights to the
World Poker Tour for $12.3 million. The World Poker Tour is an
array of tournaments that are played in various poker formats
around the world. Party Poker was hoping that through purchasing
World Poker Tour they would slowly be able to re-enter the US
poker market, plus the publicity the tournaments get on
television helps attract new players to their site.

In 2009, Party Poker was awarded the title of eGaming
Review’s Poker Operator of the Year at the Gaming Awards.
According to EGR magazine, despite the major setback that
occurred in 2006, PartyPoker “managed to maintain its position
as the biggest non-US stand alone poker site in online gaming.”

Early on in 2010, PartyGaming started focusing less of their
attention on poker and more of their attention on casino games.
PartyCasino was designed to offer a real brick and mortar Casino
experience in an online virtual world.

The site has just about everything you could think of, from
slot games to cash games and you even have the option to have a
real dealer video stream live if that’s what you prefer.
PartyCasino was very successful right from the get-go but
PartyGaming was still looking to further expand, and that’s when
rumors of a merger started becoming more relevant.

The Merger

Bwin and PartyGaming were both doing well up to the time they
started thinking about a merger but they were hoping a merger
would help them get back to where they were prior to the release
of the UIGEA. After mulling the idea over for about a year, they
released a statement confirming that they were planning to
merge. By March of 2011, Digital Entertainment was
the latest addition to the online gambling market.

Most of the senior management from both companies were able
to keep their jobs despite the changes that occurred from this
merger. Less jobs were lost than expected because although
Bwin.Party is considered one large corporation, both companies
still operate independently. A huge benefit from this merger was
that the two companies were able to expand their player pool,
which ultimately increased their yearly profit. Plus,
was able to collaborate on certain projects that they may not
have been able to do before the merger.

A Short Partnership with Zynga

In the fall of 2012 Bwin.Party announced that they had formed
a partnership with Zynga Inc., a leading provider of gaming
services that was ready to head over to the gambling market.
Under this new partnership, it would be’s
responsibility to provide the operating platform and software
needed in order to launch and maintain Zynga’s new poker and
casino gaming options. Bwin.Party in return would receive a
small percentage of Zynga’s profits for the duration of their

Due to disagreements between the CEOs of both Zynga and
Bwin.Party, in February of 2015, both companies sent out a
letter to their shareholders announcing the end of their
partnership. The sites that Bwin.Party helped create,
ZyngaPlusCasino and ZyngaPlusPoker, were shut down just a few
weeks later.

According to Casino News Daily, before the partnership was
officially terminated,

“In November 2014 Bwin.Party said it was
considering a number of business propositions by interested

We are intrigued to find out what partnerships may be
in store for Bwin.Party in the near future.

Bwin.Party Reaches Out to Nearby Communities

When Bwin.Party was formed, they agreed that giving back to
the less fortunate was a passion of theirs. The company allows
their staff to spend four to eight hours a year on various
charities or environmental projects on the company’s time.

The Bwin.Party team has raised money for cancer research,
built several school buildings in India, and continues to plant
trees in areas that have been affected by natural disasters.
They have also donated money to a plethora of different
organization including the British Heart Foundation, Children’s
Cancer Research, and the Disaster Relief Fund of Red Cross.

Ever since the merger, Bwin.Party has been actively seeking
out new opportunities to help those in need and they have
already donated billions of dollars to the foundations mentioned
above and to other causes as well.