Bodog.com founder Calvin Ayre and PartyGaming Plc. co-founders Ruth Parasol and Anurag Dikshit, as well as Parasol's husband, J. Russell DeLeon, have been included in Forbes' annual list of the Richest People in the World.
The list, which ranks people according to their net worth, said Ayre is the 746th richest person in the world with $1 billion, while Parasol and DeLeon share spot 428 with $1.8 billion each, and Dikshit is number 207 with $3.3 billion. A total of 793 billionaires are ranked on the 2006 list.
The son of grain and pig farmers in rural Saskatchewan, Canada, Calvin Ayre, 44, launched Bodog.com as an online sports betting company in the year 2000 after a number of other business ventures failed to achieve success. The popular gaming firm is headquartered in San Jose, Costa Rica, where the 44-year-old CEO lives in a $3.5 million estate called The Bodog Compound. Ayre is single and has no children.
Bodog.com posted a 150% increase in sales in 2005, bringing the total value of sales up to $210 million. In addition to online gaming, Bodog.com owns a T.V. unit, a music label, and is currently producing a poker reality T.V. series with Fox Sports Net to be broadcast in April.
Americans Ruth Parasol, 39, and J. Russell DeLeon, 40, live in Gibraltar with their two children. Together, they own 32% of PartyGaming Plc., owner of the world's largest Internet poker room, PartyPoker.com. (Each owns 16% of the firm.) The couple met in San Francisco when Parasol was a student at a university there.
Following her graduation, Parasol began advising for her father's phone-sex-chat business. She soon moved to Internet porn sites but litigation threats prompted a switch to online gambling. She launched Starluck Casino in 1997. Partner Anurag Dikshit joined one year later and together the pair developed online casino software, which enabled gamblers around the world to compete in Internet poker games.
Currently, neither Parasol or DeLeon are actively involved in PartyGaming's management though they still serve as consultants for the firm.
Number 207, Anurag Dikshit, is a citizen of India. He began working with Parasol when he was just 25-years-old. Armed with a degree in computer science and engineering from Indian Institute of Technology in New Delhi and experience working for CMC, Websci, and AT&T, Dikshit wrote PartyPoker.com's betting software together with Parasol.
The 34-year-old father of one lives in Gibraltar with his wife and child. A developmental engineer by trade, Dikshit can now be classified as an online gambling mogul. He owns 32% of PartyGaming Plc. He now manages the company's operations.
PartyGaming is based in Gibraltar but has servers and employees in India, England, and the Caribbean. The firm launched on the London Stock Exchange last June with a £4.6 billion float, the largest offering to hit the London market in five years. It is currently worth more than U.K. giants British Airways and Mark and Spencer.
Editor's Note: The Rock of Gibraltar is an overseas territory of the United Kingdom located off the coast of southern Spain. It borders the Strait of Gibraltar, which links the Mediterranean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean. As of July, 2005, its population was counted at 27,884. It is home to a variety of ethnic groups, including Spanish, Italian, English, Maltese, Portuguese, German, and North Africans. The official languages of Gibraltar are English, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese.