Major Online Gambling Site Shut Down, Owner Indicted
Calvin Ayre, founder of the online betting web site Bodog.com, and three others were indicted earlier this week by a federal grand jury in Maryland. The three were charged with conducting an illegal sports gambling site and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Bodog is one of the most popular online sports betting sites. The IRS has been investigating Bodog since 2003, according to court documents. “No matter where a corporation is based, they can’t run sports betting in Maryland,” Rod J. Rosenstein, the U.S. attorney for Maryland, said in an interview. “It’s easy for companies to comply with this law by not offering gambling services in places where that service is not legal. The fact that they’re located offshore is irrelevant.”
Ayre, whose parents were grain and pig farmers in Saskatchewan, appeared on the cover of Forbes magazine’s annual ranking of the world’s billionaires in 2006 in an article titled “Catch Me If You Can” — a reference to his position in the cross hairs of investigators. He also was featured in People magazine’s “hottest bachelor” list.
Chris Costigan, publisher of Gambling911.com, said charges against Ayre have been expected for some time. “They were always targeting Bodog, it seemed, and most of the industry realized something was going to happen, they just didn’t know when,” Costigan said in an interview.
Ayre has not traveled to the United States since 2006. Ayre said in a statement posted on his website that his business was legal and will continue to operate overseas. “We will all look at this and discuss the future with our advisers, but it will not stop my many business interests globally that are unrelated to anything in the U.S.,” he said in the statement.