A computer engineer who developed the gambling software for a phenomenally successful online casino and poker company has hit the jackpot after being named as one of Britain's richest Asians.

Indian-born Anurag Dikshit ( pictured ), co-founder of PartyGaming, rocketed to number three in the annual list of the country's wealthiest Asians, with an estimated fortune of #1.7 billion.

The 34-year-old's success comes less than a decade after he created the software, which allowed thousands of gamblers to bet online at the same time, 24 hours a day.

He is one of four new entries in the top ten of the Sunrise Radio Asian Rich List 300, which will be officially revealed at a press conference in London today.

Also on the list in ninth position is Lord Paul of Marylebone, one time Chancellor of Wolverhampton University, whose Caparo Group is now estimated to be worth #465m.

The company, started from a small factory in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, in 1968 now has a turnover of more than #600m a year and employs 4,200 people worldwide.

Dikshit's meteoric rise is typical of many of the Asian entrepreneurs on the list, who emigrated abroad at a young age and exploited their business acumen in the West.

Dikshit, pronounced Dixit, graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Delhi in 1994, and worked for a software developer in the USA the following year.

His life changed when he met entrepreneur Ruth Parasol, who had made a small fortune in online pornography, but by 1998 was looking at moving into the "next big thing" - online gambling.

Dikshit, who was just 25, was asked to create the programmes for casino games such as roulette.

Parasol considered Dikshit's skills so crucial to the future success of the business, that she allocated him 32 per cent of the shares in the company.

They launched Party Poker in August 2001, and cashed in on the booming interest in online gaming in America and Europe.

The PartyGaming websites, which make #500 a minute, proved so successful that it had to update its technology to allow 70,000 gamblers to play online at the same time.

The company floated on the stock exchange last year, turning Dikshit into a billionaire overnight.

His friend Vikrant Bhargava, who he recruited from the IIT to head the company's Caribbean operations, also appears in the rich list at number seven, with an estimated fortune of #600m.

The pair are both based in Gibraltar, which is included in the list for the first time as a British dependency.

The combined wealth of the 300 Asian multimillionaires has risen from #24.9bn in 2005, to a staggering total of #35.5bn - an increase of 42.6 per cent.

The London-based steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal has easily held on to his place at the top of the rich list, with a fortune of #14.8bn - making him the third wealthiest person in the world.

Brothers Srichand and Gopichand Hinduja have also maintained their runner's-up position, with a joint wealth of #3.6bn from their global finance, telecommunications, film and oil businesses.

Just three per cent of people on the Asian Rich List inherited their wealth, compared to a third of entrants on the The Sunday Times Rich List.

But only 22 women are among the top 300 Asian entrepreneurs, including Meena Pathak, of the Pathak spices empire.

The list was compiled by Dr Philip Beresford, author of the Sunday Times Rich List.