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US Gov't Seizes Bodog.com, Calvin Ayre Indicted
The US Department of Homeland Security has seized the Bodog.com domain and indicted founder Calvin Ayre.
According to a post on CalvinAyre.com, the Department of Homeland Security had a sealed warrant for the seizure and the company only received notice via a "leaked VeriSign notice" sent to the international registrar for the domain.
An official seizure notice is now up on Bodog.com.
In an article on Forbes.com, writer Nathan Vardi says federal prosecutors have also unsealed an indictment against Ayre and charged him with "operating an illegal gambling business involving sports betting and conspiring to commit money laundering."
According to Forbes, the focus is entriely on the sportsbetting operations and the movement of funds from accounts outside the U.S and poker is not mentioned.
Three other Canadians involved with Bodog - James Philip, David Ferguson and Derrick Maloney - were also indicted.
“Sports betting is illegal in Maryland, and federal law prohibits bookmakers from flouting that law simply because they are located outside the country,” US attorney Rod Rosenstein said in a statement.
“Many of the harms that underlie gambling prohibitions are exacerbated when the enterprises operate over the internet without regulation.”
The Bodog Brand for now seems unaffected as the Bodog.com site hasn’t been used for “active commerce” for quite some time and all Bodog-branded sites were moved to international domains recently.
The US-facing site was transferred to the Mohawk nation at the end of last year and re-branded as Bovada.lv.
Bodog Brand founder Ayre responded to the seizure in the blog and said:
“Not sure what to say. BodogBrand.com is a brand-licensing organisation based outside the US.
“The brand left the market last year and the domain in question has been dormant globally for longer than that.
“We are only currently doing brand licensing deals outside the US so this domain had no place in any of our current plans.”
Ayre continued on to say the current climate doesn’t leave international companies due process to protect their .com domains and the US government is using the seizures to clear the way for large Nevada casinos to dominate in a federally regulated market.