Anurag Dikshit co-founded the online gambling group PartyGaming in 1997. He stepped down from the board in 2006, and sold his last remaining shares in the company earlier this year, but his involvement in the site earned him hundreds of millions of dollars over the years. It also earned him a three year legal battle with the US Department of Justice.
In 2008, Dikshit pleaded guilty to violating American gambling laws by offering online poker services to US players through a site called Party Poker. He paid $300 million in fines, and agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department in a probe of PartyGaming’s operations. His final sentence hearing came to a conclusion yesterday.
Dikshit currently lives in Gibraltar, and had to buy a one-way plane ticket to New York for the hearing, because he did not know if he would be allowed to go back to his wife and two children. He was facing a sentence of up to two years in prison. The judge, however, felt that jail time was not necessary.
“I am persuaded that no jail time is appropriate here,” said US District Judge Jed Rakoff. The judge questioned prosecutors about why no other online poker entrepreneurs have been prosecuted for offering services to US players, and why Dikshit’s fellow PartyGaming co-founders were never indicted.
Dikshit was finally sentenced to one year of probation for one count of violating the Wire Act of 1961 by running an online poker site in the United States. Because he is a citizen of India, many doubted he would get jail time, but applauded his willingness to cooperate and accept responsibility for the crimes he was accused of.