US Government Indicts Calvin Ayre and Bodog

29 February 2012 | By:

The US government has indicted flamboyant billionaire Calvin Ayre, the founder of online gambling operator Bodog who for years has dared the US to try to stop him from taking bets from US customers.

The US Department of Justice began a campaign in 2011 to crack down on Internet gambling sites serving US clients, unveiling indictments and domain seizures in April 2011 for two of the world’s largest online poker sites — Full Tilt and PokerStars — amid charges of flaunting US anti-gambling laws as well as wire fraud and money laundering.

Similar charges were just unveiled against Ayre and other Bodog executives, with allegations that they oversaw the movement of more than $100 million in funds to and from customers in the US. Laws passed in late 2006 in the US made it illegal for banks to knowingly do business with online gambling sites, which serves as the basis for the US government’s case against Ayre and others as far as the lengths they went to to hide the fact they were moving money to and from US clients.

Some industry analysts were shocked that it had taken the US government this long to go after Ayre; unlike the poker sites that were previously indicted (which is a slight grey area as no specific laws make playing online poker illegal in the US) the case against Ayre and Bodog was seen as more clear-cut since Bodog’s primary business was online sportsbetting, which is illegal under various US laws.

Ayre made himself a very visible target as well, openly mocking the US government’s attempts to shut down his business and continuing to market and advertise Bodog as a US-friendly gambling site.

Ayre claims to have retired from Bodog’s operations and the seizure of the domain will have little impact, as it hasn’t been used actively by the company for years. The company has transferred its brand to a new company named Bovada as far as its North American operations, while it continues under the Bodog brand in other markets around the world.


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