Full Tilt Poker. PokerStars. Absolute Poker. Ultimate Bet. Doyle’s Room. One by one, poker domains have been seized by the FBI. Today, they nabbed another one – but no one was on the site itself to notice.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security seized the domain name of Bodog.com today, and announced that founder Calvin Ayre and three other men have been indicted on charges of operating an illegal gambling business and conspiring to commit money laundering – the same charges brought against the owners of the above sites.
Ayre announced his retirement as Bodog’s CEO in 2008, one year after the brand transferred to the Canada-based Mohawk Gaming Group, which operated its own online gaming website servicing the U.S. under the Bodog brand until last December. As written here, Bodog was re-branded to Bovada.lv for customers in the U.S. as of Dec. 15, 2011.
Bovada.lv is still operating, as it is NOT based out of the U.S. It has not been blocked, either. Bodog.com was no longer in use, so its seizure will have little effect at the moment on its players.
Ayre released a statement on his website regarding the seizure, which read, in part:
“I see this as abuse of the US criminal justice system for the commercial gain of large US corporations. It is clear that the online gaming industry is legal under international law and in the case of these documents is it also clear that the rule of law was not allowed to slow down a rush to try to win the war of public opinion.
These documents were filed with Forbes magazine before they were filed anywhere else and were drafted with the consumption of the media as a primary objective. We will all look at this and discuss the future with our advisors, but it will not stop my many business interests globally that are unrelated to anything in the US and it will not stop my many charity projects through my foundation. ”
The online poker battle and fight for possible legalization and regulation my be addressed in the run-up to the 2012 elections, thanks to ballooning debt and mouting pressure on Congress to take action regarding such seizures.