Forbes magazine reported yesterday that $24 million have been seized from accounts belonging to Bodog in four of the largest banks in the U.S. Calvin Ayre is nowhere to be found, and a lawsuit has just been filed – things do not bode well for the poker and sports betting monster.
Calvin Ayre is nothing short of a legend – a self-made billionaire playboy with the lifestyle every teenage boy dreams of. Ayre was featured on the cover of Forbes in 2006, in the annual issue on the world’s billionaires, where his section was entitled “Catch me if you can” and boasted that Bodog “handled $7.3 billion in online wagers [in 2006], triple the volume of 2004.” A few years on, things look very different: in late 2006 President Bush signed the UIGEA, and after a year Ayre was no longer a billionaire and had to restructure his gaming empire around the newly stringent American laws.
The change in Bodog’s luck is summarized in the title of Forbes’s current article: “Feds Hound Bodog.” Forbes hints at potential legal action against Ayre, and even states that, “There already has been published speculation in his native Canada that he is under secret indictment somewhere in the U.S.”
Forbes reports that the U.S. Government seized $24 million in total from bank accounts belonging to Bodog in four of the largest U.S. banks: Bank of America, Regions, SunTrust, and Wachovia.
Perhaps foreseeing that such a clamp-down was in the cards, Ayre has been distancing himself from Bodog for a while already: Bodog has operated for years from Mohawk owned and operated servers in Quebec, and in September 2007 Bodog licensed its North American operations to the Morris Mohawk Group, which is run by tribal chief Alwyn Morris and also located on the Kahnawake reservation. In spring 2008 Ayre went as far as to announce his retirement from Bodog leadership to dedicate himself to philanthropy, stating that, “I’m going to focus my time on a balanced private life and The Calvin Ayre Foundation which I am truly passionate about.”
News of Ayre’s retirement were taken with skepticism – after all, he already carries some baggage related to shady business deals, including a non-conviction for drug charges and a 20 year ban from trading in British Columbia security for stock market offenses.
The feds already seized and secured $14.2 million which went uncontested by Bodog, and now they are attempting to do the same with the remaining seized $9.9 million, to which effect they have just filed the lawsuit “United States of America v. $9,869,283.05”