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Calvin Ayre indicted, domain seized

28 February 2012

Bodog founder Calvin Ayre has been indicted by federal prosecutors in Baltimore and the domain name has been seized by the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.

In the indictment unsealed today, Ayre, James Phillip, David Ferguson and Derrick Maloney are charged with conducting a gambling business as well as money laundering. Rod Rosenstein, the U.S. Attorney in Baltimore, alleges that the defendants "did knowingly and unlawfully conduct finance, manage, supervise, direct, and own all or part of an illegal gambling business, to wit, a gambling business involving online sports betting."

"Sports betting is illegal in Maryland, and federal law prohibits bookmakers from flouting that law simply because they are located outside the country," said Rosenstein. "Many of the harms that underlie gambling prohibitions are exacerbated when the enterprises operate over the internet without regulation."

The indictment alleges that Bodog communicated with two processors to facilitate payments with gamblers. The processors named in the indictment were JBL Services, which allegedly processed at least $43 million, and ZipPayments, which allegedly processed at least $57 million. Money from both those processors was previously seized by the IRS back in 2008.

Ayre responded to the indictments with a statement on his website,

“I see this as abuse of the U.S. criminal justice system for the commercial gain of large U.S. corporations," he said. "It is clear that the online gaming industry is legal under international law and in the case of these documents is it also clear that the rule of law was not allowed to slow down a rush to try to try to win the war of public opinion."

Visitors who log onto are greeted with a Department of Justice seizure notice similar to the one that was plastered on the homepages of PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker and back on April 15, 2011. However, the difference in this notice is that it was issued by the Department of Homeland Security and not the FBI.

The seizure shouldn't affect the short-term business of Bodog. The domain name hasn't been in use since late last year. That domain name had already been switched to and American players have been able to access since December. Both of those sites are up and running as of Tuesday morning.
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