American Online Poker Sites

Calvin Ayre Indicted in Maryland Along with Three Associates

March 15th, 2012 By Scott Jack

By now most American poker players have already heard about the recent Calvin Ayre indictment. On February 28th 2012 prosecutors in Baltimore, Maryland unsealed an indictment against Bodog Entertainment Group S.A. and four individuals. The four individuals that were indicted include Calvin Ayre, David Ferguson, James Phillips and Derrick Maloney. The Bodog.com domain was also seized by US Immigration & Customs Enforcement (Homeland Security) on February 28th 2012.

Calvin Ayre Bovada

Why Was Calvin Ayre Indicted?
Rod Rosenstein is the US Attorney in Baltimore that indicted Calvin Ayre and the three other individuals mentioned above. Ayre was indicted on two separate charges that I’ve outlined below.

 

  • Count One – Conducting an Illegal Gambling Business (June 2006 – January 2012)

 

  • Count Two – Money Laundering Conspiracy (June 2006 – January 2012)

 

The indictment that was filed by Rosenstein states that Calvin Ayre and the three other men worked together to operate an illegal online gambling business, which is violating Maryland law. The Feds say that Ayre conspired to pay at least $100M in sports betting winnings to US bettors and that Bodog hired a media company to promote the Bodog brand in the USA.

In the indictment it states that Ayre worked with processors in the US and abroad to transfer funds to US bettors. It has been alleged by the Feds that JBL services and Zip Payments processed $43M and $57M respectively in payouts for Bodog.

In 2008 the IRS in the United States seized over $20M of Bodog’s cash assets including cash from the two processors mentioned in the indictment, so I find it odd that the Feds are only going after Ayre now. Calvin is confident that he isn’t going to be in any trouble and he even made some bold comments on his personal gaming blog.

The indictment goes into brief detail about how the investigation was conducted. According to the indictment filed in Maryland undercover agents in the state used Bodog.com accounts to gamble on sports. The agents would withdraw winnings through Checks or Western Union.

Apparently federal investigators also had a former employee work as a C.I. (Confidential Informant) in July 2010. The former employee helped piece together top management and also how the inside of the company operated.

Bodog seizure

What Does the Seizure Mean?
The Feds seized the Bodog.com domain, but the domain hasn’t been in use since May 2011. Bodog completely left the US market at the end of 2011 when they didn’t renew their brand license agreement with the MMGG. It should be noted that Bodog UK, Bodog Asia and Bodog Europe have never been in the US market or accepted a single bet from the USA.

Calvin Ayre expressed that the indictment was an “abuse of the criminal justice system”. He stated that the documents were filed with Forbes before anywhere else and that the indictment is strictly for the media to chew up. The seizure of Bodog.com won’t have any affect on players in the USA, as the MMGG moved their operations to Bovada at the end of 2011.

 

Is Bovada Poker going to be Fine?
If it isn’t clear to US poker players yet, the Feds are trying to do everything they can to disrupt online gaming. We definitely can’t guarantee that Bovada Poker isn’t going to be hit with an indictment in the United States. However, we feel safe recommending US poker players to Bovada Poker still despite the current indictments.

Bovada Poker is owned by the Morris Mohawk Gaming Group and has nothing to do with Bodog. The MMGG operates on the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory, which might make it more difficult to try and seize. Bovada also uses an .lv domain extension, so I can’t see Bovada Poker being seized in the near future or they probably would have been when Bodog.com was seized.

Recently Bovada Poker had some issues with payouts in four states, but it was because of a payment processor deciding to stop processing transactions in four states and nothing to do with Bovada. MyPayLinQ decided to block transactions from players in Maryland, New York, Washington and Utah last week.

Bovada Poker is still accepting poker players from the four states, but players need to find a different deposit method to use, as you’ll no longer be able to use MyPayLinQ. Bovada also accepts credit cards, prepaid cards and Rapid Transfer in the USA.

 

What’s next for Bodog & Calvin Ayre?
You can bet that Calvin Ayre has been with his legal counsel discussing his options since the indictments were unsealed. In a PR from the Bodog Brand, a representative of the company stated that Ayre is seeing if he has any options to get the domain back. No arrests have been made yet and most people don’t think the US would be able to extradite any of the individuals anyways.

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