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PartyGaming Co-Founder Sells 66 Percent Stake in Firm

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Anurag Dikshit (pronounced Dix-it) is one of the most powerful and
weathiest men in the online gambling world, having co-founded and helped build
PartyGaming Plc into the billion pound online gambling powerhouse it is
today. But this week he sold 66 percent of his shareholding for £213m.

The 36-year-old Indian-born entrepreneur also announced that he will donate all
the proceeds from the sale of his PartyGaming shares to the Kusuma Trust, a
charity he founded a few years ago, which offers educational opportunities and
welfare support to at-risk children based in India, the UK and Gibraltar.

On Tuesday this week, PartyGaming, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange
(LSE), announced that the Gibraltar-based Dikshit was selling 75 million of his
shares for 250p a share, reducing his stake in PartyGaming from 28 percent to
9.5 percent. He is expected to sell his remaining shares in due course.

While Dikshit’s move will no doubt make his charity very happy, not so happy
were PartyGaming shareholders who watched as the company’s share price sank by
15.6 percent on the LSE yesterday (Wednesday, October 20), as news of the sale
circulated. PartyGaming shares finally closed at 240.10p a share.

However, Dikshit’s ‘defection’ may turn out to be a blessing for PartyGaming.
His absence may strengthen the firm’s chances of being granted a license to
operate in the United States (if and when the popular activity is legalized in
the country), because he has a criminal record which would have been used
against him.

Dikshit got his criminal record in December 2008, when he pled guilty to a count
of online gambling in violation of the Federal Wire Act. He cooperated with the
U.S. Justice Department and agreed to forfeit $300 million. He said at the time,
‘I came to believe it (online gambling) was in fact illegal under U.S. law.’

Under current U.S. gambling laws, operators are unlikely to be granted licenses
if their owners have criminal records. In anticipation of a legalized and
regulated online gambling industry in the U.S., PartyGaming has also ‘cleaned up
its act’. In April 2008, it reached an agreement with the U.S. Justice

PartyGaming owns and operates leading online poker room, PartyPoker.

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