A move by the US Justice Department indicates that Bodog.com has shot its wad. They shut the online gambling site down and indicted its offsite founder. Calvin Ayre and three associates were out of the country, supposedly in Canada, when the indictments came down. In fact, Ayre has skirted the US in his worldwide travels in anticipation of such an action.
Betting that they could bypass local regulations, Bodog operated the website outside the US and originally advertised its alleged illicit activities on billboards, some magazines including Esquire, and even in TV ads.
Now it is charged with illegal online sports betting by the US Attorney in the state of Maryland. Because they moved funds from outside the US, reportedly $42 million to advertisers and at least $100 million to lucky winners in the US, the Justice Department is charging them with money laundering.
Ayre claims that online gaming is legal under international law. However, he is no longer involved in the company?s daily operations, instead distancing himself by licensing the brand name and technology to others.
Rod Rosenstein, US District Court attorney in Maryland said "Sports betting is illegal in Maryland and many of the harms that underlie gambling prohibitions are exacerbated when the enterprises operate over the Internet without regulation."
Undercover agents who placed bets laid their cards on the table when they were paid winnings which they claim were the result of an illegal operation. The heavy crackdown is because "The proceeds from illegal Internet gambling are sometimes used to fuel organized crime and support criminal activity," according to a Homeland Security special agent.
Ayre isn?t the only one who has profited from his online gambling empire. The Calvin Ayre Foundation has sponsored underprivileged young adults, giving them a chance to attend world-class universities in Canada and the Philippines. In 2010, the foundation donated over $46,000 to CARE International?s work in Haiti through its International Gaming Awards.
Ayre, a 51 year old billionaire, once included in People magazine?s list of hottest bachelors is definitely hot on a different list ? that of Those Wanted by a federal grand jury. All in all, an interesting development