In April, Nevada authorities charged Micon with operating the Bitcoin online poker site Sealswithclubs without holding a state-issued license. Micon’s Nevada home was raided in February, during which police seized much of Micon’s electronics. Sealswithclubs shut down for good days later, but Micon fled to Antigua, where he launched a new Bitcoin poker site, SwCPoker.eu. Last week, Micon agreed to return to Nevada to face the music.
On Thursday, Micon appeared in a Las Vegas district court, where he pled guilty to his felony charges. But a deal reached with prosecutors will keep Micon out of jail. Instead, Micon will serve an as yet undetermined period of probation, after which he can apply to have his felony record reduced to a misdemeanor. Micon will next appear in court on July 6, at which time the length of his probation will be fixed.
Micon didn’t escape entirely unscathed, having agreed to pay a $25k fine and to forfeit the electronic gear seized during the February raid. Micon also agreed to forfeit the 3.0996 Bitcoin seized during the raid, which holds a fiat value of around $750 at time of writing.
Micon’s fate brings to a close Nevada’s first prosecution of an illegal online gambling site since the state launched its regulated online poker market in April 2013 and the first US prosecution of a Bitcoin-only gambling site. Micon’s punishment pales in comparison to that imposed on other felonious violators of US online gambling rules, most likely because, unlike the Full Tilts and PokerStars of the world, Sealswithclubs’ Bitcoin-only status meant it had no need to disguise financial transactions as sporting goods sales and the like.