The Morning After
It’s been about 12 hours since publication of the indictment against our site’s founder Calvin Ayre and 24 hours since we broke the seizure of the Bodog.com domain name that preceded the Maryland DA’s actions — long enough to take a closer look at the events and the expected fallout.
Before I do that, I want to let our readers know that Calvin Ayre is safe and is currently weighing his legal options before making another public statement.
Given the mainstream media’s “if it bleeds, it leads” sensationalism, headlines such as “Feds Seize Gambling Site” and “Feds Close down Online Betting Operation” might convince you that the sky was coming down on your head. Much of the media’s reaction to the incidents is based on their face-value acceptance of the government’s statements, rather than an in-depth analysis of the real impact of Tuesday’s actions.
As we made clear in our first article about the Bodog.com domain seizure, Bodog.com hasn’t been active for quite some time and wasn’t in use for any active commerce anywhere in the world. The feds took a domain that was inactive, made it active and slapped their logos all over it.
The domain’s value was rendered useless after patent troll Scott Lewis stole the domain with a default judgement back in 2008.
The Bodog Brand was pulled from the US market after the brand licensing agreement with Morris Mohawk Gaming was allowed to expire last year. So, the headlines claiming the Feds shuttered the doors are far from accurate; to borrow a phrase from a regular commenter on our site, “It was a severe case of necrophilia.”
These allegations have had no effect on other companies that licence the Bodog brand name around the world; both Bodog UK and Bodog88 in Asia are operational and show no signs of slowing down.
PART LE DEUX:
The DOJ is almost counting on the media’s unfamiliarity with the nuances of the industry in order to make their actions look more consequential and almost heroic in the eyes of the public.
Had the media analyzed the statement made by William Winter, Special Agent in Charge of ICE HSI in Baltimore they might have a question or two. Winter said, “(this) sends a strong deterrent message to those that facilitate illegal online sports betting operations and commit crimes against our nation’s financial system.” The kids at Occupy Wall Street will remind us that there are currently zero (0) bankers sitting in a prison cell for skull fucking the financial system out of trillions of dollars and creating a global recession.
Also left unchallenged was Winter’s statement that “The proceeds from illegal Internet gambling are SOMETIMES [emphasis added] used to fuel organized crime and support criminal activity.” Just like how SOMETIMES the DoJ itself facilitates crime — like the small arsenal of deadly weaponry that went missing during the ATF’s Fast And Furious operation (that insane shipping guns to Mexico thing, of which the DoJ was well aware). These guns have now been linked to hundreds of crimes, including the slaying of a US border guard in Arizona.
If the media took the time to explore the nuances of the industry, they would realize that after a seven-year investigation, seizing a mothballed domain name and unsealing an indictment with only two very shaky charges would not only be a disappointment, it represents an appalling ROI for US taxpayers.
As anyone who watched The Wire understands, Maryland is not lacking in actual criminals committing often extremely violent crimes against its citizens. What is in short supply are the resources necessary to effectively combat such crimes. When you consider the multi-year taxpayer-funded investigation into Bodog’s efforts to pay out winnings (the nerve of them!) to its winning bettors, and all the man-hours, equipment and money that didn’t go into addressing some of Maryland’s real problems…
From where this reporter is sitting, don’t cry for Bodog; save your tears for the people of Maryland.