On Monday February 27, 2012, the United States Department of Homeland Security seized the Bodog.com domain name. Federal agents in Baltimore, Maryland received a court order to seize the company’s .com domain even though there would be little consequence to operations as for nearly a year now Bodog’s gambling business has been operating under Bodog.eu as far as customers are concerned.
Bodog has rebranded its U.S. facing operations in 2011 to Bovada which uses a .lv domain and non U.S. resident players who play on the company’s international site access via Bodog.eu. Players from Canada continue to access via Bodog.ca.
“Not sure what to say. BodogBrand.com is a brand-licensing organization based outside the U.S. The brand left the market last year and the domain in question has been dormant globally for longer than that,” company founder Calvin Ayre said.
“We are only currently doing brand licensing deals outside the U.S. so this domain had no place in any of our current plans,” he added.
The domain name seizure follows similar actions by the DOJ against sites like PokerStars and Full Tilt and more recently against the Everleaf Network.
Calvin Ayre Indictment
Earlier today, Federal prosecutors in Baltimore unsealed an indictment against Calvin Ayre, the former billionaire and founder of Bodog. Ayre, who is 50, is accused of operating an illegal gambling business involving sports betting and conspiring to commit money laundering.
Calvin Ayre is originally from Canada and the son of grain and pig farmers in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, who travels and lives a lavish lifestyle all over the world. Ayre took $10,000 in savings and built one of the world’s largest internet gaming empires.
Rod Rosenstein, the U.S. Attorney in Baltimore, indicted Ayre and three other Canadian men, James Philip, David Ferguson and Derrick Maloney. None of the men are in custody and they are believed to be in Canada. The company, Bodog Entertainment Group, is also under indictment and its domain name has been seized by federal prosecutors.
“Sports betting is illegal in Maryland, and federal law prohibits bookmakers from flouting that law simply because they are located outside the country,” Rosenstein said in a statement. “Many of the harms that underlie gambling prohibitions are exacerbated when the enterprises operate over the Internet without regulation.”
Calvin Ayre has for years taunted and dodged the U.S. law by specializing in offering online sports betting, casino and poker games to U.S. gamblers.
Federal prosecutors allege that Ayre conspired to direct at least $100 million by wire and check in sports gambling winnings to gamblers in Maryland and elsewhere in the United States from 2005 to 2012, adding Bodog conducted a $42 million advertising campaign between 2005 and 2008 to attract gamblers to the Bodog.com website.