A Costa Rican based business process outsourcing company (BPO) providing services to the Bodog Brand has expedited its closure after fears it will be wrongly associated with the Bodog.com Indictments. After the brand licensing agreement with the Bodog Brand and Morris Mohawk Gaming was terminated in December 2011, along with ever increasingly restrictive economic conditions in Costa Rica, the BPO had already started to make plans to wind down its operations.
The plan was for a gradual shut down of operations to minimize disruptions to their staff. But the closure was expedited after its management feared the mainstream media reporting of the indictments could result in the BPO wrongly being caught up in the proceedings.
The BPO told CalvinAyre.com that the closure was already underway. The BPO stressed that all employees would be given their full proper severance. The BPO is grateful for their service and the BPO is confident that given their years of experience in the BPO industry, the former employees would have little trouble finding new employment. The remaining companies using the BPO’s services knew of the scheduled shut down and all have switched to new service providers so their customers won’t notice any service interruptions.
The BPO’s fear that it would be caught up in the proceedings against Bodog.com came from the allegations made by the Fed’s confidential (or should I say confused) informant (CI). The CI falsely claimed that in July 2010, “Bodog”, via the entity, Bodog Entertainment Group S.A, had hundreds of employees in Costa Rica…taking bets, tracking sports events etc.
Thing is, Bodog didn’t have any such offices in Costa Rica. Running an online gambling site in Costa Rica is illegal; the companies in Costa Rica that do business in the gambling industry are required to work with an internationally licensed operator, such as one of the many legally licensed operators in Antigua.
BPOs come in all shapes and sizes and work with most of the world’s largest companies. Independent companies will sign services agreements with large international companies to provide operational support in areas such as customer service and technical support.
Costa Rica, because of its educated population and a high-level of bilingualism is home to BPOs that service some of the world’s largest companies. Amazon.com and HP are two notable international companies who use Costa Rican BPOs for customer service and technical support.
The false claim that Bodog was employing hundreds of employees in Costa Rica comes from a misinformed view of international business. The best analogy would be if you were calling India to check your Bank of America Visa card balance; even though you’re calling India, you couldn’t claim that Visa or BoA were Indian companies.
And just to highlight a further inaccuracy while we’re at it, the company named in the indictment, Bodog Entertainment Group S.A. was only a domain management company. The Bodog Brand granted it use of the Bodog name to make it easier for the management company to go after trademark infringements under existing US trademarks. It never operated a gaming business in the US or otherwise. The company shut down in 2008 in a restructuring move after patent troll Scott Lewis of 1st Technology attacked Bodog.com, successfully stealing the domain. All of the domains the company managed were moved to a non-Costa Rican based management company.