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Maryland is officially moving forward with the extradition of Bodog founder Calvin Ayre. According to a report in the Baltimore Sun, federal prosecutors are seeking to extradite Ayre to the United States in connection with the 2012 indictment against Bodog Entertainment Group.

Federal attorneys revealed their plans this past Friday in U.S. District Court in Maryland. However, the door remains open that Ayre can avoid extradition if a resolution to charges can be reached.

Ayre on “Most Wanted List”

In 2012, Ayre and three others were indicted on charges of running an illegal gambling business involving sports betting and conspiracy to commit money laundering. At the time, he called the indictment an “abuse of the US criminal justice system for the commercial gain of large US corporations.”

Since that time, all four men remain “at-large” with Ayre said to be either in Antigua or Canada. The other three are said to be in Canada. Furthermore, Ayre is on the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Most Wanted list.

According to the indictment, Bodog and associates moved at least $100 million from overseas accounts to bettors in Maryland. The indictment also alleges that Bodog spent at least $42 million in U.S.-based advertising.

Attorneys Seek to Administratively Close Case Until Further Need Arises

Realizing that nothing can proceed without either extradition or legal negotiation, Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Kay asked for the case to be administratively closed until the need to reopen the case arises. The primary reason for this is because extradition for Ayre could take “a number of years.”

However, extradition may never happen in this case. Kay reported back in July that he and an attorney connected to Ayre had reached a deal in principle to resolve the matter, but the parties were unable to finalize the deal. Kay contends that “parties intend to continue to try and find a resolution that will not require extradition of the defendants, but, in the meantime, I am pursuing extradition.”

While court documents fail to list an attorney for Ayre, several sites have listed Barry and Stuart Slotnick as his legal defense. Slotnick would not confirm, but did say, “The matter is still ongoing, and I think it is appropriate for me to have no comment.”


Ploy to Force Ayre’s Hand

Based on the words of Assistant Attorney Kay, this extradition may be more of a ploy than a serious attempt to incarcerate the Bodog founder. Kay admitted that it could take a number of years to actually bring Ayre back to the United States, and that is assuming that he doesn’t move to a country that will not comply with extradition requests.

What’s much more likely is that the DOJ is just trying to embarrass Ayre into finalizing an agreement to bring this indictment to an end. Nearly every major player in the Black Friday saga has settled with the DOJ.

The fact that a deal had been agreed to in principle would imply that the terms were acceptable to Ayre. We wouldn’t be surprised to see a deal finalized between the parties in the next few months.



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James Guill

James Guill began his poker career in 2006, spending two years traveling the US tournament circuit. Since 2008, he has covered the game extensively for some of the biggest names in the industry. When not writing about the latest poker news, he can be found hunting for antique treasures in Central Virginia.