The island nation of Antigua has named online gambling legend Calvin Ayre as a Special Economic Envoy charged with advising the country’s leaders on blockchain and bitcoin technology. It’s a move designed to help reinvigorate the nation’s struggling internet gambling sector, and also a bit of a thumb of the nose at the United States.

Ayre is certainly the right person for a role like this as he offers a perspective of the internet gambling industry from one of the most successful names in the industry. Although he isn’t as well known as a bitcoin entrepreneur, Ayre is considered extremely knowledgeable on the subject of crypto currency.

Having Ayre on deck will certainly be an advantage for the Antiguan government and people as they struggle to rebuild their once mighty online gambling industry. The island’s gambling economy took a major hit when the United States officially made online gambling illegal for its citizens in 2003. That move devastated the Antiguan economy and led the country’s economic officials to file a complaint with the World Trade Organization that claimed the Americans were stifling free trade.

After years of litigation, the WTO sided with the Antiguans and told the US to pony up approximately $21 million to compensate for the island’s financial losses. (Antiguan officials claim the US prohibition cost them billions of dollars, but $21 million was all they were awarded.) Despite the WTO’s ruling, the US has never paid up and Antigua was actually awarded the right to sell an equivalent amount of copyrighted US material in lieu of payment, an option the Antiguans have yet to take up.

Mr. Ayre will also offer his unique perspective on fighting the American government. This is something of a specialty for the mega-millionaire who recently had all charges dropped in a case of illegal gambling brought on by the US Department of Justice.


Tags: ,