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Poker News: December 14th, 2009

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HEADLINE: Surrey Six suspect wants police to return poker winnings

On Saturday, the National Post ran an article entitled “Calvin Ayre online gaming tycoon,” a profile of the founder of the popular online poker room, casino, and sports book Bodog. Ayre donned a Bodog Fight shirt for the interview’s image.

Diane Francis was tasked with interviewing Ayre in Antigua and the news outlet described the internet mogul as “semi-retired.” The article begins with Francis asking Ayre about the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), approved by better than a 3:1 edge in the House of Representatives before being attached to the SAFE Port Act at the urging of then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN). When asked if Canadian authorities had pursued Ayre in any capacity related to the 2006 law, he told the Post, "No. I haven't lived in Canada for ten years or been in the Canadian tax system. The legal system did not allow me to do this in Canada. Now I like living in the tropics.”

Ayre revealed that he owns the rights to the domain name and licenses the rights to the network to affiliates located around the globe. In the United States, for example, Morris Mohawk Gaming Group, a Canadian outfit, owns the rights to market the brand. After recently releasing “Survivor: China” castaway Jean-Robert Bellande, Bodog’s stable of poker pros currently stands at three: Evelyn Ng, Justin “ZeeJustin” Bonomo, and David Williams.

The Post then inquired about Bodog’s revenue figures. Ayre explained, "My current deals aren't revenue based and are all different structures which I don't talk about. Forbes audited our books and based the number on the same multiple that the British public companies were trading at, or more than $1.5 billion. In 2006, Bodog made US $320 million in revenues and 25% profit." After the UIGEA was passed into law, online poker sites with publicly traded parent companies like PartyPoker and Pacific Poker exited the market, leaving sites like Bodog, PokerStars, and Full Tilt Poker to pick up the slack.

On the current legality of online poker in the United States, Ayre told the Post, “Poker is not illegal to bet online in the U.S. because it's considered a skilled game. It's a gray area, but there are lots of American companies with poker sites.” This year, Bodog forged its own poker network and will purportedly begin accepting non-Bodog domains into its ranks next year. Jonas Odman, Vice President of the Bodog Network, told Poker News Daily that a “unique solution” to rakeback will help differentiate the family of sites from others in the industry.

In September, Ayre served as the keynote speaker at the Budapest Affiliate Conference. He told event organizers at the time, “I’m very flattered to have been asked to be this year’s keynote speaker in Budapest. The iGaming space is the birthplace of the Bodog brand, and it remains one of the must dynamic and fascinating sectors in the entertainment space.” In addition to Morris Mohawk, Bodog’s licensees include Bodog Europe and Bodog Asia. The former recently opened its doors to Canadian online poker players.

According to, which keeps tabs on online poker room traffic, Bodog is the 15th largest site or network worldwide with a seven-day running average of 860 real money ring game players. During its peak hours, around 1,500 cash game players call the site home. Its traffic is comparable with that found on PKR and every Sunday, the site hosts its $100,000 Guaranteed, a $162 buy-in event that kicks off at 4:00pm ET. The tournament regularly sees a $20,000 to $30,000 overlay, with $29,000 kicked in by the site last week.

Read the entire Calvin Ayre interview with the National Post.

Bodog Poker Bonus

Article downloaded from the World Wide Web on December 14th, 2009

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