Saskatchewan-born Calvin Ayre, 50, has been indicted by U.S. federal prosecutors for operating an illegal gambling business involving sports betting and conspiring to commit money laundering. The former Canadian billionaire has been eluding America’s law enforcement for several years.
Once a People magazine’s “Hottest Bachelor,” Calvin—who founded Bodog in 1994—was featured in a Forbes cover story titled “Catch Me If You Can.” In the article, Calvin boldly stated that his company was based on internet gambling, but smirked that “we can’t actually be described as gambling in each country we operate in.”
Ayre has dodged and taunted enemies, the main one being the U.S. Department of Justice. [Bodog] that appears to violate the law—Title 18, Section 1084 of the U.S. Code—which forbids using telephones or other communication devices “in interstate or foreign commerce” in order to take bets. “Online gambling, whether it is located offshore or not, is illegal when it comes to the United States and its citizens,” says a Justice Department official who works on Internet gambling crimes.
As Calvin noted back then, “I’ve put a lot of energy into finding ways not to fight my enemies.” For example, he fled Canada. However, it seems that his malpractices have finally caught up with him. This story is not unlike that of Anurag Dikshit, who made billions of dollars building an online gambling empire but later agreed to forfeit $300 million after pleading guilty to violating the US Wire Act.