The Story Behind Calvin Ayre and the Bodog Controversy

Discussion in 'Lets Talk about gambling and more...' started by Marina, Oct 26, 2014.

Free Spins - Vera&John Casino
  1. Marina

    Marina Administrator Staff Member

    Depending on whom you ask, Calvin Ayre’s story can either be a true rags-to-riches saga, filled with philanthropy and good will, or it can be one of a corrupt man who thought he was above the law.
    Either way, one thing is for certain- he’s a wanted man, and not just because he’s made it to the top of numerous eligible bachelor lists. In fact, he’s on the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement's
    "Top 10 Most Wanted" fugitives list for money laundering and running an illegal gambling business.

    Calvin Ayre’s Early Years

    According to Mr. Ayre, his formative years were laborious. His father was a pig and grain farmer. Ayre worked dawn to dusk on their remote Saskatchewan homestead, tending to the animals when
    he wasn’t at school. He worked his fingers to the bone, attempted a few start-ups, and eventually scraped together 10,000 dollars to create his first successful company.

    One piece that’s often omitted from the puzzle is that Ayre’s father was also a drug smuggler. In 1987, he was convicted of bringing 750 pounds of marijuana into Canada from Jamaica. Although Calvin
    was never arrested or charged, the judge labeled him as a co-conspirator and indicated that he played a role in his father’s illegal side-business. Then, in 1991 he was involved in a scandal with Vancouver’s
    Bicer Medical Systems. Ayre, who was the company’s president at that time, was civilly charged with insider trading, but he managed to work out a deal and paid a 10,000 dollar fine and was barred from
    running any public company listed on the Vancouver Exchange until 2016.

    Ayre has publicly acknowledged both incidents. In regard to the judge’s comments, he’s simply pointed out that he was never given an opportunity in court to refute the claims.
    As for his insider-trading charges, he said, “Some of the stuff I did I didn't even know was a violation of anything, but there were a few things that I knew weren't done exactly right
    but I was being advised that it was OK to do it that way.”

    Founding of Bodog


    In 1994, Ayre formed a software development company that created technology which off-shore bookmakers could use to take online bets. Inspired by Ronald (the Cigar) Sacco, a US citizen who
    set up an off-shore phone-betting system, Ayre moved to Costa Rica in 1996. He helped start up WinSports and GrandPrix and developed new ways to pay clients, preferring to mail checks instead
    of using Western Union and similar services, as other bookmakers did.

    In 2000, Ayre settled on the company name “Bodog” and launched his own online casino, starting with sports betting. His London Bodog accounts served as a midpoint for any US-based transactions.
    At some point, Ayre decided to use a pseudonym for all of his Bodog dealings, and so, “Cole Turner” was created. Mr. Turner was an adventurer, and stories written by Ayre were posted on the web.
    He went all-out and hired locals on one of his trips to Thailand to help portray scenes, using machetes covered in fake blood and a digital camera. The story told involved Turner fighting terrorists, and
    that he had been captured by the Cambodian government. Some believed it and feared for his life, while others scoffed, but Ayre openly admitted to anyone who would listen that he and Turner were the
    same and that Turner was nothing more than a marketing gimmick.

    Rise to Fame

    In 2004, Bodog expanded into poker and in 2005 a music division was added. All the while, Ayre enjoyed lavish living in Costa Rica. He left all assets in Bodog’s name, which meant he didn’t have to
    pay taxes to local government, and he wasn’t paying taxes to any jurisdictions he accepted bets from either. He engaged in numerous PR events, fashioning himself after Richard Branson and branding
    Bodog in his own image. It paid off, and in 2006 he was on the cover of Forbes Magazine’s Billionaires Edition and landed on People Magazine’s hottest bachelor list shortly thereafter. In 2007 he made
    Star Magazine’s list of most eligible billionaire bachelors as well. Then, in 2011, he was featured in a six-page profile in Playboy. He reportedly bought 3,000 copies, though there’s no indication of what
    he did with them. Ayre was just about everywhere, hosting events and sponsoring teams, always with a Bodog girl on his arm. In between all this, the US cracked down on online gambling, so he sold off
    his internet gaming division in 2006.

    However, the IRS started following Bodog in 2003 and US Customs and Immigration also took note. A joint formal investigation was started in 2006, and in 2012 Calvin Ayre was indicted
    on money-laundering charges. Ayre has remained tight-lipped on his own case, but has posted videos that show he’s not concerned at all. Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard C. Kay says that
    he’s pursuing extradition of Ayre and believes he’s in Antigua or Canada. He also indicated that in July 2014, an agreement had been reached with Ayre’s attorney, but it was never finalized.
    At least for now, it seems that the only court he will be tried in, is that of public opinion.
    Kotsy, Ellis and Mike like this.
  2. Kotsy

    Kotsy Well-Known Member

    Interesting read. Makes one wonder if the US is going after him for the possibility of cashing in. In many countries he's deemed legal for online gambling but in the US he is not. Do they only want a piece of the profit? Is all the money backing, landbased Casino's in Vegas or Atlantic City putting pressure on the US government?

    You could look at this in many ways. The IRS always wants something for their pocket.

    Wonder where he is and what's being done to find him is the USA is so hot about it.
    Marina and Mike like this.

Captain Cooks