Feds Indict Former Online Gambling Billionaire
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On Tuesday, Federal prosecutors in Baltimore released an indictment against Calvin Ayre, the Canadian founder of Bodog, one of the biggest gambling sites on the interent. Ayre is accused of running an illegal gambling business and conspiring to commit money laundering, and for years was able to elude U.S. law enforcement, prompting Forbes to write a story on him called “Catch Me If You Can.”
Rod Rosenstein, the U.S attorney in Baltimore, filed a six page indictment, alleging that Ayre, along with three other Canadians, James Philip, David Ferguson and Derrick Maloney ran an illegal gambling business from 2005 to 2012, which was in violation of Maryland law. Money was also allegedly laundered in Switzerland, England, Malta and Canada. In a statement, Rosenstein said “sports betting is illegal in Maryland, and federal law prohibits bookmakers from flouting that law simply because they are located outside the country,” adding that “gambling prohibitions are exacerbated when the enterprises operate over the Internet without regulation.” Prosecutors also allege that Ayre moved $100 million in gambling winnings to gamblers, using payment processors like JBL Services and ZipPayments.
Ayre claims to be retired, and that his Bodog brand has been transferred to the Morris Mohawk Gaming Group, located in the Kahnawake territory near Montreal. Ayre’s website describes him as being an “industry pioneer, megalomaniac, and adrenaline junkie.” Adding that, “in 1994 Calvin Ayre sold everything he owned and launched Bodog.com. During an unprecedented run of marketing/PR stunts, Calvin Ayre had the opportunity to be around more D-list celebrities than Dr. Drew – not to mention stuffing more 3rd world mouths than Live Aid.” Dang. Presently, the domestic version of the Ayre’s Bodog site is down, due to a seizure of its domain name by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Bodog’s other site, bodog.eu, is also blocked from North American access, prompting users to visit bovada.lv, which allows access.
Ayre’s comment on the matter he’d posted to his website:
These documents were filed with Forbes magazine before they were filed anywhere else and were drafted with the consumption of the media as a primary objective. We will all look at this and discuss the future with our advisors, but it will not stop my many business interests globally that are unrelated to anything in the U.S. and it will not stop my many charity projects through my foundation.