US drops all charges against Calvin Ayre
US federal prosecutors have dropped all charges filed over five years ago against Bodog online gambling business and its founder, Calvin Ayre.
In February 2012, the US Attorney for the District of Maryland indicted Bodog, the site’s founder Ayre and three other individuals on charges of illegal gambling and money-laundering conspiracy.
The indictment accused Bodog of offering gambling services to US customers between June 2006 and January 2012.
According to the Department of Justice, Bodog and the charged individuals were responsible for more than $100m (€87m) in gambling proceeds being transmitted to customers in the US.
Chief Judge Catherine Blake of the US District Court for the District of Maryland accepted a resolution that dismissed all of the felony charges against Calvin Ayre and Bodog. All of the charges against the other individuals were dismissed separately a short time ago.
Ayre, a Canadian citizen, pleaded guilty on Friday to a misdemeanor charge. Judge Blake sentenced Ayre to one year of unsupervised probation and a $500,000 fine.
Ayre also agreed not to make any claim against $66m that had mostly belonged to US-based gamblers and had been previously seized by federal prosecutors from payment processors in a forfeiture proceeding related to the case.
"Ayre personally ensured that any Bodog brand player was made whole," according to a court document filed by federal prosecutors.
In a statement Ayre dismissed suggestions that the settlement would result in major changes to his current lifestyle, saying he planned to carry on his role as an online gaming industry analyst, tech investor and philanthropist. “But most importantly, I’m just going to continue enjoying life to the fullest.”
In addition, Ayre reacquired the domain name for Bodog that had been seized by federal prosecutors as part of the criminal case through a payment of $100,000.