Calvin Ayre’s indictment and the seizure of Bodog.com by the Department of Justice (DOJ) last week came as (somewhat) of a shock to most of the iGaming world. Few insiders knew what to make of the charges since most of Ayre’s sites operate outside the US and Bodog.com hasn’t been part of his gaming operations for a long time.
A week after the indictment there’s not much in the way of new information to report; Ayre has been tight lipped and so has the DOJ. Ayre’s legal woes do, however, bring up some interesting questions for US facing sites.
Ayre issued a brief statement on his website CalvinAyre.com last week deriding the case against him as an, “…abuse of the US criminal justice system for the commercial gain of large US corporations.” Besides that short statement, Ayre has been unusually tight-lipped about the situation.
In a video posted the day after the indictment, Ayre looks anything but worried as he shops for suits on Seville Row with a fashion model draped on his arms.
Legal Options for Ayre
According to an editorial posted on his site, Ayre is safe and, “weighing his legal options.” So far, those legal options look pretty good for the Canadian former billionaire turned millionaire.
For starters it’s extremely unlikely that Ayre will be extradited from any country in the world to face gambling charges in the United States. Gambling charges simply aren’t serious enough in most parts of the world to warrant that type of attention.
Even if there was a serious risk of extradition, Ayre has the resources to drag the fight out for a very long time.
Given that there’s almost no chance Ayre will ever set foot in a US courtroom, it’s fair to ask why the DOJ went after him in the first place.
The bigger question surrounding the Ayre case centers on legal jurisdiction on the Web. Some critics are saying that the DOJ is overstepping its jurisdiction in seizing a domain that was originally registered in Canada. (Though management of .com domains is handled by a firm in California.)
For their part, the DOJ maintains that that the Ayre case involves more than enough American connections to warrant a seizure.
No matter what anyone says, it’s a question that’s likely to come up again and could seriously impact U.S. facing sites.
Having seen the legal writing on the wall, Ayre had long since moved his gaming operations to .eu domains that sit beyond DOJ reach. This week Bodog opened a new set of poker rooms aimed at players in the booming Asian market.
In short, business is still pretty good for Ayre and Bodog. So don’t look for Ayre to be trading in afternoons on Seville Row for a quick trip to Men’s Wearhouse anytime soon.