Calvin Ayre is one of the most influential people in the online gambling industry. He has succeeded in clearing all his legal issues in the United States. The Canadian-born gambling entrepreneur recently had all federal felony charges against him dropped in lieu of an admission over the telephone to being an “accessory after the fact” which is only a misdemeanor charge. As a result, both Ayre and his company Bodog Entertainment Group no longer have to be concerned about facing legal problems in the United States stemming from the case in question.
Calvin Ayre Slapped With a Whopping Half-Million Dollar Fine
US authorities had accused Calvin Ayre and his website of violating the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) by accepting monetary transactions from US citizens in lieu of offering them gambling services. The law, which was passed in 2006, is intended to prevent US citizens from gambling at offshore sites.
Ayre was slapped with a half-million dollar fine in addition to one year of unsupervised probation although he initially faced a one million dollar fine and a maximum of 25 years in prison. He also waived off his claims to the money seized from payment processors, which amounted to $67 million. A federal grand jury in the US had charged him with running an illegal gambling business and also money laundering.
Charges Against Bodog
The charges against Bodog and related individual stemmed from the period starting June 2006 and ending January 2012. During this period more than $100 million was transferred to US-based customers as the proceeds of their gambling with Bodog.
The case attracted widespread interest in the online gambling industry. Ayre maintained that the US criminal justice system was being abused to harass him. He stressed the point that Bodog consistently operated legally in whichever jurisdiction it had entered. He has also maintained that Bodog had no operations in the US. However, Ayre managed to stay away from the courts while the case lay inactive for a period of five years.
The Bodog case has echoes of the Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars cases. That’s when the US Department of Justice seized the Bodog website to put a stop to what it termed illegal operations. Ayre has been permitted to regain control of the website by paying a sum of $100,000. It seems that certain associates of his have already bought the domain from the US government. There will be no restrictions placed on how the website can be used. This means that it will most likely get back to the gambling industry without any delay.
Ayre has not indicated whether he wants to return to the US gambling market once he has full access to the Bodog site. The gaming site is licensed in Antigua and this gives it the right to operate in the United States.
The easy resolution of the problem after a long period of dormancy indicates that the US government is living up to its obligations regarding online gambling. It owes more than $200 million to Antigua alone on account of being penalized by the WTO because of disagreements regarding online gambling.
Ayre Not Leaving Barbados
The satisfactory resolution to his legal woes hasn’t changed Ayre’s opinion about living in the United States. As a matter of fact, he prefers to say in the Caribbean. He mentioned that he will continue to be a part of the online gambling industry. Ayre will also be continuing his philanthropic activities from his base in Barbados. Incidentally, Ayre is currently focused on Bitcoin. He believes that the digital currency has a big role to play in the industry in the future. He has filed a number of patents concerning different aspects of Bitcoin.