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Anurag Dikshit Settlement to Open Up Can of Worms

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Dec/15/2008
PartyGaming

The news that billionaire co-founder of online poker firm PartyGaming, Anurag Dikshit, has settled with the US Government for $300 million was bound to send shockwaves throughout the sector when the London Stock Exchange opens Tuesday.

How this affects PartyGaming's shares remain to be seen.  On one side of the spectrum you have a company that could clear itself of any future prosecution and, as such, open up the doors for possible acquisition opportunities.  On the other hand, we have more founders who are yet to settle and a company with a pretty big blemish to its name.  Not only will Dikshit have to pay a hefty fine, he's also looking at the possibility of up to two years behind bars. 

The settlement opens up a can of worms for other European online betting firms who conducted business in the US, including William Hill and Victor Chandler, both of which opened their doors to a limited number of customers in the States at varying periods of time.

The PartyGaming settlement also fully supports the notion that the US Government makes little distinction between sports betting and online poker.  Organizations such as the Poker Players Alliance have long argued that the US Government would be less inclined to go after online poker rooms, insisting that the game is one of skill, not chance.

Dikshit's dealings with the US Government were believed to be voluntary as a means of avoiding potential future prosecution.  He was not indicted or charged with any offense.  Another billionaire co-founder of PartyGaming, Ruth Parasol, was also widely believed to be negotiating with US officials along with her husband.  A third industry billionaire and founder of BodogLife.com, Calvin Ayre, is under investigation by US authorities. 

Dikshit is PartyGaming's largest shareholder, holding a 27 percent interest in the company and the 207th richest man in the world.

Christopher Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher        

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