Calvin Ayre pleads guilty to misdemeanor charge

Jul 15, 2017 7:40 AM

Calvin Ayre, the former online gambling billionaire, pleaded guilty on Friday to a misdemeanor charge. The plea brings to a close a five-year criminal case in which federal prosecutors pursued felony charges against Ayre and the company he founded, Bodog Entertainment Group.

Forbes reports Ayre admitted to an accessory after the fact charge related to the transmission of gambling information in violation of the Federal Wire Act, according to a criminal information document filed in federal court in Baltimore. Federal prosecutors then dropped the felony charges they had filed against Ayre, Bodog and three other Canadian men.

Ayre, 56, pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge by telephone from his lawyer’s office in Vancouver, participating in a hearing that took place in a Baltimore’s federal court. Additionally, Ayre reacquired the domain name for Bodog that had been seized by federal prosecutors as part of the criminal case through a payment of $100,000.

Ayre was sentenced to one year of unsupervised probation and a $500,000 fine. He also agreed not to make any claim against $66 million that had mostly belonged to U.S.-based gamblers and had been previously seized by federal prosecutors from payment processors in a forfeiture proceeding related to the case. "Ayre personally ensured that any Bodog brand player was made whole," according to a court document filed by federal prosecutors.