On Monday, Bodog.com, the dormant domain that once serviced US online poker players, was seized by the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice. Shortly thereafter, Bodog founder, Calvin Ayre, along with three other Bodog executives, was indicted out of Maryland on illegal gambling and money laundering charges between June 2005 and January of this year. If found guilty, Ayre, who is from Canada, faces up to 25 years in prison. The other three individuals named in the indictments are David Ferguson, Derrick Maloney, and James Philip.
US District Attorney from Maryland, Rod J. 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.” He continued, “Many of the harms that underlie gambling prohibitions are exacerbated when the enterprises operate over the Internet without regulation.”
According to the indictment, Bodog Entertainment Group, transferred $100+ million in online transfers via payment processors JBL Services and ZipPayments to online poker players of Bodog. Bodog is still in operation though, as the seized domain, Bodog.com, hasn’t been used by the company since they switched over their US players to Bovada.lv. Both Bodog and Bovada brands are run by the Morris Mohawk Gaming Group out of Quebec, Canada, based in the Mohak Territory of Kahnawake.
Philanthropist and billionaire Ayre said after the allegations were made, “I see this as abuse of the US criminal justice system for the commercial gain of large US corporations.” He further added, “It is clear that the online gaming industry is legal under international law…it will not stop my many business interests globally that are unrelated to anything in the US and it will not stop my many charity projects through my foundation.”