No need for SOPA, VeriSign seizes bodog.com for US authorities

By Lee Kaelin on March 1, 2012, 5:00 PM

The Department of Homeland Security has seized the domain of online gambling website bodog.com after the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland unsealed a two-part indictment Monday.

It is the result of data and intelligence gathered during an investigation by the FBI and IRS dating back as far as 2006, which also included the assistance of a former employee. Four persons working for the entertainment company stand accused of conducting an online sports betting business in violation of the Illegal Gambling Business Act as well as engaging in a money laundering conspiracy.

Interestingly, bodog.com is run by Canadian billionaire Calvin Ayre and the domain was purchased through a Canadian registrar. None of the defendants are believed to be US citizens. US authorities never approached the Canadian registrar to enforce the seizure, instead they used .com and .net domain operator VeriSign to alter the "glue" records and take down the website, according to the seizure warrant (PDF) paperwork.

By sidestepping the Canadian registrar, VeriSign sends a worrying message to anyone else with a .com or .net domain, especially if authorities consider these TLDs to be American property. It also raises the question: why do we need SOPA again?

According to the indictment, the accused moved money from several accounts in Canada, England, Malta and Switzerland to the US to pay for advertising firms, including $42 million to an undisclosed media reseller in the US between 2005 and 2008. It's also said that the defendants paid out $100 million in winnings to US gamblers, despite the strict laws regarding certain gambling in the US.

"Sports betting is illegal in Maryland, and federal law prohibits bookmakers from flouting that law simply because they are located outside the country," US attorney Rod Rosenstein said in a statement.

Ayre responded to the allegations on his blog, calling the case an "abuse of the US criminal justice system for the commercial gain of large US corporations." He continued, "It is clear that the online gaming industry is legal under international law and in the case of these documents it is also clear that the rule of law was not allowed to slow down a rush to try to win the war of public opinion."

All four could face extradition to the US if caught by authorities, and if convicted, they could face up to 20 years in prison for the money laundering count as well as five years for operating an illegal gambling business.




User Comments: 35

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KG363 KG363 said:

Absolutely ridiculous

Guest said:

SO....tell me again why some people want the government more intrusive in our lives? This is getting annoying. Even though it doesn't affect me, I still don't like it.

Guest said:

I have a bad feeling about this year. The end result seems to me could be as much as ten percent (more?) of the internet simply blocking access to Americans. :/

treetops treetops said:

sigh if only law enforcement did what the people who pay them want them to do, does anyone really care if some guy in maryland is gambling on his computer? iv said it before and ill say it again go bust some meth labs!

Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

trolled, for shame

of course I am kinda only joking around... hardly read the article, but mildly making a small point?

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'll repeat my twitter comment on this story earlier on i.e. '.com/.net (or any other US controlled domains) have simply lost value'.

veLa veLa said:

The government doesn't need new laws to enforce what they want. Only to clarify their agenda which is bullshit anyway.

Guest said:

Ok this is retarded. Internationaly it is legal to gamble online and Canada is where the poeple who owns the company lives and based out of.. Now tell me wtf is the usa doing stucking their nose in this.. Usa rules usa... Not usa rules canada.

Mindwraith said:

I'm glad they took down a gambling site, but this is still really scary. how can america just enforce their laws upon other countries?

MrTomTom said:

"Sports betting is illegal in Maryland, and federal law prohibits bookmakers from flouting that law simply because they are located outside the country,"

US attorneys logic: if's it's illegal in Maryland, it's illegal in Canada as well.

Guest said:

I think this shows the need to for legal definitions of which country owns .coms and such. Since the internet is inherently international, I think these kind of things should be either considered as being in international waters or subject to the laws of the land in which the host server is located. It is arrogant to assert US ownership over something explicitly international. What more, regarding the gambling, even if Maryland is against it, what say Nevada. It can't be right to seize an international domain due to an infringement of such a small place's law. After all, you could almost as easily make a phone call from anywhere in the world to a bookie's joint to place a bet.

Guest said:

Now I've heard it all. So if someone places a bet on the internet it's illegal to pay them if they win now?

...and it gives them the right to take down their website?

I think this type of enforcement abuse will simply be the start of the way the internet used to be before it came to the forefront and became public and once again go underground with more and more private networks springing up.

First serving files is illegal such as fileserve.com etc, TPB are going to jail, now gambling is illegal on the internet.

Do people have any rights anymore?

Does anyone remember what governments were created for to begin with? Wasn't it to serve the people?

Seems they're more interested in lining their own pockets and screwing people these days, doesn't it?

...and they wonder why wars happen.

Anyone know why the US is in Afghanistan again? Oh, that's right, the war on terror... or was it the fact that the country has more oil than Iraq and Kuwait combined? I forget.

Looks like another Vietnam to me. People getting invaded simply to try and screw them. When is the US going to get their noses out of other people's businesses and concentrate on their own smelly backyard?

300 million degenerates that feel they have the right to dictate to others how things should be run.

Weren't the USA first fighting Japan, then Korea, then Vietnam, Libya, Beruit, Iraq and now Afghanistan. What's the common country here involved in warmongering? Oh, look the USA and their peace-loving ways...

Gotta wonder why the USA feel they have the right to dictate to others when they can't run their own show don't you think.

How is the USA any different to Nazi Germany? It kills millions of people per year in its pursuit of "freedom" and "the greater good", takes resources when it sees fit, controls the media and now the internet and is now policing the internet and telling people they can't have specific sites because they're in violation of their policies.

MrTomTom said:

300 million degenerates that feel they have the right to dictate to others how things should be run.

Except there's 1% of these 300 million "degenerates" controlling most ressources and money as well as the 500ish congress people etching laws dictated by the great US corporation's lobbymen.

In the end, there isn't much 300 million degenerates can do to stop this shit. They can't just unvote congressmen, they can't lobby more than the corporations do. They can't get through this system because it's rigged out to work for the benefit of the wealthy hence the many laws that serve those US corporations interests.

Guest said:

as far as the comment above that said something to the effect of "it doesn't affect me", i would beg to differ. it doesn't affect you now, but who's to say something you like isn't going to be the next target? that's what everyone misses in these types of discussions, when they get away with stopping one thing, they start with something everyone agrees with and then they move on from there. say, for example, child porn. not a soul i can think of can say honestly that it's ok, including myself. i love thinking someone is protecting my kids, but at the same time, it's my job, not the government's. same concept with anti pirating laws like sopa. most would agree that it should be wrong to pirate movies and music, but what happened to the concept of sharing? if i want to let someone borrow a cd i bought, i can, for now. when would that become illegal? i got most of my music collection in person with a bunch of cd's and a laptop, i even had a friend give me 1.5 terabytes of music when i copied his entire collection onto an external hard drive. when the government gets away with one thing, they feel emboldened to go after the next, and as mentioned above, it's not the people, it's the lobbyists who really control the policy here and it's high time for a change. jefferson said it's not a right but a responsibility for citizens to overthrow the government when it tramples our rights(not exact wording).

high time for a new revolution if you ask me...

Guest said:

goodbye americans...

Internet was a good thing to you untill this.

MrTomTom said:

"high time for a new revolution if you ask me..."

What he said.

MilwaukeeMike said:

I'm completely shocked by the comments here. Another Vietnam? What?!

This is BODOG.COM COM COM COM COM COM

Not Bodog.CA <--- Canadian! www.Bodog.ca! Not restrictied. The USA has not stepped on a canadian website at all. Lee, Do you homework. Readers, get your head out of your backsides.

Ranger1st Ranger1st said:

Terribly sorry, but it needs to be pointed out, US laws are NOT international laws. The .com was registered in Canada not the US, there is NO legal waiver stating that you MUST abide by US laws when you buy a .com, therefore the country of your original purchase is where the laws for online business apply. This is 1st. year law kids.

America has put themselves in the same boat as China and Iran when it comes to controlling what the US populations can and cannot do/view or interact with. But instead of being dogma or politically driven, it's corporate and Christian right wing controlled. The US is in for a very bad time in the up coming years.

jester376 said:

MilwaukeeMike said:

I'm completely shocked by the comments here. Another Vietnam? What?!

This is BODOG.COM COM COM COM COM COM

Not Bodog.CA <--- Canadian! www.Bodog.ca! Not restrictied. The USA has not stepped on a canadian website at all. Lee, Do you homework. Readers, get your head out of your backsides.

"Interestingly, bodog.com is run by Canadian billionaire Calvin Ayre and the domain was purchased through a Canadian registrar."

Read the damn article.

MilwaukeeMike said:

Ranger1st said:

Terribly sorry, but it needs to be pointed out, US laws are NOT international laws. The .com was registered in Canada not the US, there is NO legal waiver stating that you MUST abide by US laws when you buy a .com, therefore the country of your original purchase is where the laws for online business apply. This is 1st. year law kids.

America has put themselves in the same boat as China and Iran when it comes to controlling what the US populations can and cannot do/view or interact with. But instead of being dogma or politically driven, it's corporate and Christian right wing controlled. The US is in for a very bad time in the up coming years.

There is no legal waiver because 'I didn't know that was against the law' is not a legal defense. If sports gambling is illegal in Maryland, then it's illegal in Maryland. It's not ok just because the website people are using is registered with a different country. This guy is facing 20+ years for running an illegal gambling operation and money laundering. This is not a case of some innocent guy getting his website turned off by the big bad USA govt. He's blaming a 'right wing conspiracy' and you guys are buying it.

Should a website that provides free downloads of movies be allowed if the .COM name is registered in China?

If that's true, then who's laws to we follow? The ones were we live or the one's where the .COM is registered? And prosecuting someone in America for breaking a law from another country is obviously wrong, so what then?

Don't compare us to China... this isn't even close.

MilwaukeeMike said:

jester376 said:

"Interestingly, bodog.com is run by Canadian billionaire Calvin Ayre and the domain was purchased through a Canadian registrar."

Read the damn article.

Actually I read some of the other artcles that Google's news search returned. They focused more on complete reporting than inciting riots. Here some quotes...

"Ayre posted a statement on his website Tuesday saying that his company did not take U.S. bets.

"Bodog UK, Bodog Europe and Bodog Asia have never taken bets from the US," the statement said. "The BodogBrand is currently consulting with its legal advisers with a view to having the domain returned."

The statement also said the Bodog domain has not been in use since operations were switched from Bodog.com to Bodog.eu by the Morris Mohawk Gaming Group and The BodogBrand.com revoked its licensing agreement with MMGG on Dec. 15.

His defense is that he wasn't allowing gambling in the US. And he's being indicted for money laundering. There are plenty of other online poker sites who seems to have figured out the law. Why are you defending this guy?

Tygerstrike said:

What surprises me is everyone jumping on the "America is Evil" bandwagon. Problem is that bandwagon aint got no wheels so the argument goes nowhere. If the BILLIONARE in question is indeed performing a money laundrying service, then its illegal. No amount of complaining is going to change the fact that the gentleman in question was doing the money laundering WELL BEFORE any legal action was taken. How about a few slams against the billionare who caused this legal action to be brought against him? Wheres the acknowledgment that what the gentleman did was illegal. I swear!! Half the guest posters have to be incredibly short sited. You read an article, pull out the points you wanna whine about, then raise your pitchforks and torches and turn into an ***** mob.

MilwaukeeMike said:

Tygerstrike said:

What surprises me is everyone jumping on the "America is Evil" bandwagon. Problem is that bandwagon aint got no wheels so the argument goes nowhere. If the BILLIONARE in question is indeed performing a money laundrying service, then its illegal. No amount of complaining is going to change the fact that the gentleman in question was doing the money laundering WELL BEFORE any legal action was taken. How about a few slams against the billionare who caused this legal action to be brought against him? Wheres the acknowledgment that what the gentleman did was illegal. I swear!! Half the guest posters have to be incredibly short sited. You read an article, pull out the points you wanna whine about, then raise your pitchforks and torches and turn into an ***** mob.

This is so true it's scary. It's most likely how the occupy protesters get half their numbers. It started because the tinderbox term 'SOPA' was in the headline which makes everyone automatically against whatever they're about to read. Bloggers site stuff like this when they write that the internet is actually making us dumber.

Nevermind the P in SOPA is for Piracy, and this story has nothing to do with Piracy. It's just easy to relate because it's about the govt shutting down a website. And we have a corporate billionare calling the acts of a democratic administration a 'right wing conspiracy'.

Never let the facts get in the way of a good piece of propoganda, right Techspot?

Tygerstrike said:

Whats more scary is the fact that ppl seem to want to play the "Im a victim" Theres no more personal accountability. What the guy did was wrong. Its action/reaction. Im sure the bloggers are right. Ppl are getting stupid. Actually dumber is more appropriate. How any of this affects any of them is a mystery. Oh your rights might be violated by the big bad govt. No "your" individual rights seem to be just fine. Unless your Illegaly laundering money or running an offshore gambling operation. You dont have to worry about much. I swear they see a lizard and scream godzilla.....

Guest said:

Hooray! It's about time. Congratulations to Verisign for stepping up. "Mind your own business" is no excuse for breaking the law.

Guest said:

.com is not really an American domain, .us is an American domain. and .com, .net., .org are logically "international" domains, because they have no country code in them. So it is at least politically incorrect for the US to claim ownership of all .com domain names in such a despotic way. If that gambling money laundering billionaire is indeed a criminal, he should be put to jail, if his site is illegal, it should be taken down, but excuse me, where is the presumption of innocence? Was there a court of jury that settled that this person is a criminal and his web site is illegal and his domain name should not belong to him anymore? Even an arrest warrant is not yet a proof of the person being guilty in a crime. How can private property be taken away from anyone whose guilt has not yet been proven? I'm not a lawyer, but it seems a bit wrong to me!

Guest said:

what a joke address real issues.....murder...rape....education....slavery....poverty.
..robbery....assault etc...leave the sharing, playing games, recreational drugs etc... alone that is the last of the worlds concern sick of this nanny governments deciding what they think is best. if someone wants to borrow a movie while playing a game of poker getting high and drunk that's there choice. world is in a so called recession how much money have they wasted away on all this...bailing out banks etc...and we pay for it all in taxes.....

Guest said:

hope some one steps up (anon) and hacks/cracks verisigns business ssl encryption and takes there buisness down..............

Tygerstrike said:

Its called preserving the chain of evidence. A arrest warrant is just that. To "arrest" or stop whatever illegal activity is being performed by whomever. It normally includes any or all operational (I.E> Businesses, websites, little old ladys) involved in the investigation. Verisign took down the website im sure on a court order. The Law is the Law. Borders do figure into it. But most govt. have agreements that allow a review of another countries wants and extradition orders. So ppl screaming about "America the Evil Despot" obviously have no idea how a Legal system works. America had to present paperwork and evidence in order to prove that this guy was doing SOMETHING illegal. Courts outside the US have to review this information and see if it melds/merges or disputes another countries Laws. All these hoops had to be jumped through in order for even a warrant to be issued. So just because you didnt see any proof of guilt, doesnt mean that the courts didnt see any proof. Obviously for any criminal action to be taken some proof had to be laid out for a judge or magistrait to review and agree that a crime has been commited. Guilt or Innocence doesnt factor into the equation

TJGeezer said:

Guest said:

SO....tell me again why some people want the government more intrusive in our lives? This is getting annoying. Even though it doesn't affect me, I still don't like it.

Go tell it to the Dept. of Homeland Insecurity. The U.S. middle class is failing, the wealthy owners of corporations are getting nervous, congress and the federal courts right up to the Corporate Supremes are thoroughly owned, and as George Carlin noted: "They call it the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it."

Or - you weren't blaming it all on the dang lib'rals, were you? Probably not. Your note seemed too temperate. I wonder how many liberals even exist inside the DHS or among grandstanding federal prosecutors and big-money SuperPACs and lobbyists.

This was, as someone said, a corporate move. They own the U.S. government, so if you want to see who directed this particular abuse of power, follow the lobbyist money.

anguis said:

so the USA is going to arrest any foreigner for breaking a law that does not exist in their country? Sorry but I consider that a preposterous act and disgraceful. If it is such an abhorrent site, force the USA ISPs to block it (let the USA's Internet become China II). But trying to arrest someone for breaking a law in a different country?!?!? No logic at all. No respect for foreign sovereignty at all.

Guest said:

it means the beginning of the end of .COM addresses.

soon most websites, even perfectly legit commercial ones, will move to other domains. and just like bank accounts, as country after country gives into US pressure, there will be one or two countries who will allow anonymous domain registration.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

There is no legal waiver because 'I didn't know that was against the law' is not a legal defense. If sports gambling is illegal in Maryland, then it's illegal in Maryland. It's not ok just because the website people are using is registered with a different country. This guy is facing 20+ years for running an illegal gambling operation and money laundering. This is not a case of some innocent guy getting his website turned off by the big bad USA govt. He's blaming a 'right wing conspiracy' and you guys are buying it.

Should a website that provides free downloads of movies be allowed if the .COM name is registered in China?

If that's true, then who's laws to we follow? The ones were we live or the one's where the .COM is registered? And prosecuting someone in America for breaking a law from another country is obviously wrong, so what then?

Don't compare us to China... this isn't even close.

Yup, but don't forget Gitmo + illegal (secret) detentions / renditions + assassinations + sponsoring terrorist organizations in other countries..... just to name few which are deemed legal by US to achieve its goals (incidentally US accuse others of these as well), so I don't really see any difference TBH. These are different 'tools' to achieve political ends in line with one's wishes, hence, politics is just not what it is you and I think it is.

H3llion H3llion, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Tygerstrike said:

What surprises me is everyone jumping on the "America is Evil" bandwagon. Problem is that bandwagon aint got no wheels so the argument goes nowhere. If the BILLIONARE in question is indeed performing a money laundrying service, then its illegal. No amount of complaining is going to change the fact that the gentleman in question was doing the money laundering WELL BEFORE any legal action was taken. How about a few slams against the billionare who caused this legal action to be brought against him? Wheres the acknowledgment that what the gentleman did was illegal. I swear!! Half the guest posters have to be incredibly short sited. You read an article, pull out the points you wanna whine about, then raise your pitchforks and torches and turn into an ***** mob.

Thing is, Government IS ''Evil'', there is no other way of saying it.

Guest said:

The Government of the United States of America is TOTALLY CORRUPT!! The Government of the United States of America is TOTALLY CORRUPT!! The Government of the United States of America is TOTALLY CORRUPT!! The Government of the United States of America is TOTALLY CORRUPT!! The Government of the United States of America is TOTALLY CORRUPT!! The Government of the United States of America is TOTALLY CORRUPT!! The Government of the United States of America is TOTALLY CORRUPT!! The Government of the United States of America is TOTALLY CORRUPT!! The Government of the United States of America is TOTALLY CORRUPT!! The Government of the United States of America is TOTALLY CORRUPT!! The Government of the United States of America is TOTALLY CORRUPT!! The Government of the United States of America is TOTALLY CORRUPT!! The Government of the United States of America is TOTALLY CORRUPT!! The Government of the United States of America is TOTALLY CORRUPT!! The Government of the United States of America is TOTALLY CORRUPT!! The Government of the United States of America is TOTALLY CORRUPT!! The Government of the United States of America is TOTALLY CORRUPT!! The Government of the United States of America is TOTALLY CORRUPT!! The Government of the United States of America is TOTALLY CORRUPT!!

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