Should you be concerned with the Bodog Civil War?

bodog-basketball-girlNormally we can watch online poker wars play out on a website like www.PokerScout.com, where the traffic numbers are tracked and we can see who is winning and losing. But that’s not the case when the battle is taking place internally, as it currently is at Bodog.

A battle is currently raging in the Philippines pitting Bodog against a group of former employees. Details are sketchy (and mainly one-sided) at the moment, with both sides trying to take down the other by what appears to be any means necessary.

We may not know precisely what is going on, or who the good guys are (if anyone), but what we do know is that the authorities are involved, and are investigating both sides.

*Virtually every source for this article comes from the pro-Bodog website CalvinAyre.com*

The initial “shot across the bow”

The first public grumblings of the internal spat appeared back in October on CalvinAyre.com, the website of the former(?) owner of Bodog, Calvin Ayre. CalvinAyre.com is a very good website with a solid crop of entertaining and topical writers, but it also busies itself by settling scores and right now the target are a small group of former Bodog employees, including a handful that held positions of power in the company:

* Jan Robert Gustafsson (who was a Bodog “talking head” according to CalvinAyre.com)

* Patrick Selin (the former head of Bodog Europe)

* Arleen Aldaba (former CFO of Bodog)

Gustafsson and co. indicted

After alleging the group’s “crime spree” in Manila in the October article, CalvinAyre.com updated the story a few weeks later, detailing the indictments issued for Selin, Gustafsson and at least 17 other “co-conspirators” on a number of different charges:

On Wednesday, the Makati City Prosecutor’s office filed charges of Car Napping under R.A. No. 6539, amended by R.A. No 7659 against Gustafsson and at least 17 co-conspirators, many of whom are former Bodog Asia employees

This article at CalvinAyre from November 7 details the indictments as well as the Bodog version of events, which somehow began with the theft of an old Yamaha motorbike of all things!

Bodog offices in Manila raided

But apparently this was not the end of the Civil War between Bodog and its former employees; it was just the beginning.

Last week saw the Bodog offices in Manila raided by police. According to the local authorities, they believed Bodog was conducting illegal gambling operations in the Philippines (their deal with the government that allows Bodog to be located in the country forbids Bodog from offering any type of gambling to Philippine’s residents); a charge Bodog vehemently denies.

During the same period all manner of reports were coming to light, ranging from kidnapping and rape charges against Calvin Ayre to bribery.

Calvin Ayre one of ICE’s most wanted

While the rape and kidnapping charges don’t seem to hold much water, Calvin Ayre does have his own legal problems in the US where he is now one of ICE’s most wanted fugitives.

Ayre has been a high-value target for the US government for years, but he has always managed to stay one step ahead of US authorities.

Several people have been linking the current raid of the Bodog offices as an attempt to apprehend Ayre specifically as well as linking them back to the US DOJ, although it should be noted there is no proof whatsoever that this is the case, just rumors and grumblings in the poker community.

So what exactly is going on in Manila?

Honestly, who the hell knows? What we are starting to realize is that unregulated online gambling sites seem to be operating somewhere between corner-cutters and backroom players to flat-out organized crime outfits.

It seems like whenever the curtain is pulled back on one of these sites the scene is pretty grisly, like something out of a Soprano’s episode where Chris and Pauly are the main players.

Should you be concerned if you are a player at Bodog? Should you get your money off the site as fast as possible? I wouldn’t go quite that far, considering Bodog has one of the best payment track-records in online gaming history. But if I had a significant amount of money on Bodog I would definitely keep my eye on this story as it continues to develop.

 

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