Calvin Ayre, the billionaire founder of Bodog, plans to build a $100 million 5-star resort on Antigua’s Valley Church Beach. Calvin Ayre sold Bodog over 10 years ago, but ‘His Excellency’ is a special economic envoy for Antigua and continues to make profits from digital currencies online.

The Ayre Resort is the next phase of business for the Canadian-born Calvin Ayre, who has lived in Antigua and Barbuda for the past several years. At a time, Ayre’s Caribbean residence was an imposed exile, because US authorities filed charges against him stemming from online gambling licensing deals.

Last year, Calvin Ayre settled those charges by pleading guilty to a single misdemeanor charge — and paying a hefty price in fines and forfeitures. Mr. Ayre said that his new tropical resort will be financed entirely off profits he made investing in bitcoin. He was an early investor in the crypto-currency.

Gaston Browne Praises Ayre Resort

Gaston Browne, the prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, gave praise to the island’s famous resident and suggested the Ayre Resort would help Antigua’s tourism. Browne said, “We expect the resort’s novel and exciting concept to broaden Antigua and Barbuda’s tourism product and bring a new category of tourists to our islands. We look forward to working with Mr Ayre on this resort and the many other investments he has made in Antigua.”

Antigua and Calvin Ayre are fellow travelers of sorts. Antigua and Barbuda also has ran afoul of US authorities who take a stand against online gambling. The tiny island of 101,000 residents has lost an estimated $200 million in damages from US anti-gambling policies, which the WTO twice has found to be in violation of international law (as stipulated under the 1990s-era GANS treaty). Gaston Browne’s country was given permission 8 years ago by the WTO to collect damages through pirating US intellectual property, but has yet to do so.

Calvin Ayre: His Excellency

The country’s long dispute over gambling meant that Antigua was a safe haven for Calvin Ayre during his decade-long legal issues with the United States. Now that he’s free and clear to travel anywhere in the world, Ayre appears ready to make Antigua his permanent home. Recently, Gaston Brown’s government named Calvin Ayre a “special economic envoy”. The small Caribbean nation, which was a British colony until 1981, also bestowed the title “His Excellency” on Calvin Ayre recently.

The Ayre Resort is a part of the country’s economic recovery from Hurricane Irma, which destroyed 95% of the structures on Barbuda. The damage was so widespread that the entire island of Barbuda was evacuated to Antigua. Gaston Browne’s administration, which remains a part of the Commonwealth of Nations, has asked the United States several times to pay its debts under the WTO ruling, which would help the country’s recovery.

Ayre Resort Press Release

Calvin Ayre said in a press release about the new resort, “This resort will attract a totally new market segment of tourism on the island — successful wellness-seekers who also want to have fun. The property will not be an all-inclusive destination. Instead, its amenities will be available to residents of Antigua and Barbuda and visitors alike.”

The Ayre Resort will accept bitcoin cash payments at point-of-sale terminals, along with its online booking agent. Bitcoin Cash is a hard fork from Bitcoin, which happens when a blockchain splits into two incompatible separate payment chains.

About Calvin Ayre

Calvin Ayre launched Bodog in 1994 as an entertainment and online gambling support site. In 2001, Bodog launched its own online casino, sportsbook, and poker room. By 2006, Bodog was one of the most successful online gambling sites in the world — and Calvin Ayre was a billionaire and Canadian celebrity.

That same year, the United States Congress decided to ban online casinos, card rooms, and bookmaker sites with the UIGEA law. The most lucrative gaming market in the world was closed to operators. Calvin Ayre sold Bodog to an outside group in order to avoid legal troubles, but maintained licensing rights for the Bodog name. Due to those licenses, the US government pursued charges against Calvin Ayre for unregulated online gambling sites bearing the Bodog name.

US Charges against Calvin Ayre

After Black Friday in 2011, the US government became more aggressive in its pursuit of online gaming operators. In 2012, US Attorney for Maryland, Rod Rosenstein, brought a litany of charges against Calvin Ayre. After Rod Rosenstein rose to the rank of US Deputy Attorney General in 2017, Calvin Ayre’s lawyers made a plea bargain on his behalf, so he could finally resolve his legal issues with the US Department of Justice.

In the meantime, Calvin Ayre built a variety of successful businesses. His CalvinAyre.com website is a leading news source in the gambling world, while Ayre’s investments in bitcoin have been substantial. Currently, Calvin Ayre and business partners have over 70 blockchain patents pending, which would continue to push innovations in the growing blockchain industry.

About the Author
April Bergman avatar
April Bergman

April Bergman was a longtime news blogger for BOC. She wrote gaming news posts from January 2013 until September 2018. April also wrote slot reviews, strategy articles, and online casino reviews for the site.

April Bergman began in the online gaming industry in August 2010. From 2010 to 2013, she managed evergreen content for several top online casino. Her duties included developing and maintaining multiple websites in the gaming space. When not writing about online gambling, April loves horse racing, travel, photography, and gardening. She's began in the business as a devoted poker players and spent several years as a card game editor on the now-defunct DMOZ. These days, she lives with her husband and two children in the Toronto metropolitan area.

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April Bergman was a longtime news blogger for BOC. She wrote gaming news posts from January 2013 until September 2018. April also wrote slot reviews, strategy articles, and online casino reviews for the site.

April Bergman began in the online gaming industry in August 2010. From 2010 to 2013, she managed evergreen content for several top online casino. Her duties included developing and maintaining multiple websites in the gaming space. When not writing about online gambling, April loves horse racing, travel, photography, and gardening. She's began in the business as a devoted poker players and spent several years as a card game editor on the now-defunct DMOZ. These days, she lives with her husband and two children in the Toronto metropolitan area.

READ MORE
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