Isn’t capitalism wonderful

PartyGaming floated on the London Stock Exchange today.

PartyGaming’s shares rose 11% on the first day of dealings yesterday, defying doubters who thought it would be impossible to float a business in London whose activities are considered illegal in the US. Strong demand for shares in the world’s biggest online poker company meant the four founders sold extra into the flotation. The quartet of two Indian computer engineers plus an American former porn entrepreneur and her husband will now collect a combined £1bn in cash and retain stakes collectively worth £3.5bn.

PartyGaming peppered its float prospectus with warnings about the risk of criminal and civil proceedings in America, notably from the US Department of Justice, which regards gambling over the internet as illegal.

Funny how nobody in the City seems concerned about the ethics of this. I bet if I tried to float a company whose services were illegal in other jurisdictions I’d be condemned from a great height by men in suits from City institutions. (Unless, of course, it was making huge profits.)

Interesting fact no. 3443: the programmer who wrote the original software for PartyGaming is called Dikshit. He will collect £420m and keep a 30.4% stake worth £1.5bn.