Bodog shut down; four Canadians indicted for illegal gambling

The sports gambling site Bodog has been shut down and four Canadians have been indicted, including founder Calvin Ayre, for illegal gambling that generated more than $100 million in winnings, U.S. federal prosecutors said Tuesday. The website’s domain name was seized Monday and the indictments, which were handed down Feb. 22, were unveiled Tuesday in Baltimore.

BALTIMORE — The sports gambling site Bodog has been shut down and four Canadians have been indicted, including founder Calvin Ayre, for illegal gambling that generated more than $100 million in winnings, U.S. federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

The website’s domain name was seized Monday and the indictments, which were handed down Feb. 22, were unveiled Tuesday in Baltimore.

Ayre, who’s originally from Lloydminster, Sask., posted a statement on his website Tuesday saying that his company did not take bets in the U.S, where financial transactions involving online gambling service providers are illegal.

“Bodog UK, Bodog Europe and Bodog Asia have never taken bets from the US,” the statement said. “The BodogBrand is currently consulting with its legal advisers with a view to having the domain returned.”

The statement also said the Bodog domain has not been in use since operations were switched from Bodog.com to Bodog.eu by the Morris Mohawk Gaming Group and The BodogBrand.com revoked its licensing agreement with MMGG on Dec. 15.

In addition to the 50-year-old Ayre, prosecutors say the indictment names website operators James Philip, David Ferguson and Derrick Maloney.

The indictments follow prosecutions last year of three of the biggest websites in online poker. More than 75 company bank accounts in 14 countries have been frozen, and authorities are seeking $3 billion in fines and restitution, in that investigation.

On Tuesday, that probe netted another Canadian: Ryan Lang pleaded guilty in Manhattan to conspiracy charges, saying he helped the poker companies arrange to circumvent U.S. laws meant to prevent banks from processing online gambling proceeds.

Lang says he carried out the crimes from 2007 to the middle of 2010, operating out of Canada to help financial brokers who made false statements to the banks to trick them into processing payments.