Online Gambing Giant Bodog has been raided by the feds late last night, and its founder billionare Calvin Arye and associates have been indicted and/or arrested. Arye has been accused, under a grand jury indictment, of operating an illegal gambling business in the United States involving sports betting and committing money laundering
The Bodog website domain has been seized and shut down, although the company points out that they no longer use that domain, and all have been using Bovada.lv for deposits for US residents. This happened the day after several other gambling sites were shut down by the feds, and their domains seized.
“Sports betting is illegal in Maryland, and federal law prohibits bookmakers from flouting that law simply because they are located outside the country,” U.S. AttorneyRod J. 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 indictment accuses the founders of illegally transferring money from accounts all over the world in order to pay gamblers and more importantly for this industry, their affiliates and advertising networks.
“Today’s indictment of Bodog Entertainment Group S.A. and its founder and operators sends a strong deterrent message to those that facilitate illegal online sports betting operations and commit crimes against our nation’s financial system,” said William Winter, Special Agent in Charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations in Baltimore. “The proceeds from illegal Internet gambling are sometimes used to fuel organized crime and support criminal activity. ICE HSI, together with our law enforcement partners, will disrupt and dismantle organizations that commit these crimes, regardless of their location, whether here in the United States or abroad.”
A representative of Calvin Ayre posted that
This seizure of Bodog.com is a bit odd as the domain name hasn’t been operational for quite some time and isn’t in use for any active commerce anywhere in the world. Other Bodog Brand properties won’t be affected by the seizure of this inactive domain.
I asked our publisher and Bodog Brand founder Calvin Ayre about the seizure, “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.”
However, no one from the company has addressed the criminal prosecution of Mr. Ayre as part of this investigation. At the moment, Mr. Ayre’s whereabouts are unknown, but it is likely that already there is an international arrest warrant issued, and he will fight extradition to the United States on these charges.