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The Bodog Group
Industry Intellectual Property Licensing
Founded 1994
Founder Calvin Ayre
Headquarters Antigua
Key people
Calvin Ayre, Founder
Products Online gambling
Number of employees

Bodog is an entertainment brand founded in 1994 by Canadian entrepreneur Calvin Ayre. While primarily associated with online gambling companies, the brand has adorned a diverse crop of ventures, including music and television productions, a mixed martial arts (MMA) league and consumer coffee sales.


The Bodog brand was founded as an online gambling company in 2000 by Calvin Ayre, while Ayre was working as a technology supplier to established online gambling companies. Unlike most of his competitors, Ayre chose a company name that made no reference to gambling in order not to limit the brand’s future scope. Ayre has spoken at length about the criteria that factored into coming up with the Bodog name, including having six letters or fewer, being easy to spell and pronounce, and having some personality.[1] As of 2016, Bodog is one of the largest companies in the unregulated US Market and has a net worth estimated at $1.2 billion.[2]

With Ayre serving as the company’s CEO and pitchman, the Bodog gambling site quickly became a market leader, culminating in Ayre’s appearance on the 2006 Forbes Magazine ‘billionaires’ issue.[3] In the same year, Bodog relocated its global headquarters from Costa Rica to Antigua.[4] By that time, the Bodog brand was associated with the Bodog Music record label,[5] the Bodog Fight MMA league and its associated television series,[6] as well as the annual Poker and Sports Marketing Conference in Las Vegas.[7] In keeping with Ayre’s Scots lineage, Bodog had its own tartan officially recognized by the Scottish Tartans Authority.[8]

The Bodog name also lent itself to charitable efforts including Bodog Salutes The Troops, a weekend-long music festival and poker tournament held in Hawaii in 2006 for the benefit of the Fisher House Foundation, which provides accommodation for families of US military veterans undergoing hospital treatment.[9]

Shift to brand-licensing model[edit]

Following passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in 2006, Ayre sold the online gambling business to the Morris Mohawk Gaming Group (MMGG) based in Kanhawake, Quebec.[10] Despite his retirement from the online gambling industry, Ayre retained ownership of the Bodog brand, which he began licensing to other companies via the portal.

The Bodog brand has since been associated with regional online gambling companies in Canada, the UK, mainland Europe and Asia, as well as the worldwide Bodog Poker Network. Bodog also signed a deal to market Illy coffee products in the Philippines under the Bodog Coffee banner. In May 2010, the Bodog brand acquired the domain at auction for $5.5m, the then fifth-highest price ever paid for a domain, in order to expand the brand’s licensing opportunities.[11]

The Bodog logo has featured on the jerseys of UK football teams, including Premier League side West Bromwich Albion F.C.[12] and Scottish First Division team Ayr United F.C.[13] In August 2013, Bodog signed a three-year, multimillion-pound deal with Premier League side Arsenal FC to act as the club's official Asian betting partner.[14] The brand has also entered into deals with the Canadian Football League[15] and the National Hockey League’s Edmonton Oilers franchise.

Sale of Network Branding[edit]

In February 2017, the Bodog Poker Network was purchased by PaiWangLuo, a Hong Kong-based investment group, and rebranded as the PaiWangLuo Poker Network.[16] The network houses three online poker sites, two of which still license the Bodog brand name. As of August 1, 2017, the PaiWangLuo Network is the fifth largest poker network in the world.[17] domain seizures[edit]

The domain has twice been the subject of legal action in US courts. In 2007, a US federal court ordered the domain seized and awarded to intellectual property patent holding company 1st Technology LLC, based on claims that the Bodog software infringed on 1st Technology-owned patents. 1st Technology has brought similar claims against other online gambling companies as well as non-gambling internet companies such as Facebook and Pandora, earning 1st Technology a reputation as a 'patent troll'. The claim was resolved in April 2009 after MMGG reached a settlement with 1st Technology in order to continue using the domain.[18]

In July 2011, Bodog announced that its deal with MMGG would terminate by the end of the year, after which MMGG transferred its customers to its new Bovada brand.[19] Despite the fact that the domain had become inactive, the US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Agency seized the domain in February 2012 in conjunction with the US Attorney for Maryland’s unsealing of indictments against Bodog for alleged illegal gambling activities.[20] However, the dormant was owned by a company based and licensed in Antigua. The World Trade Organization (WTO) has repeatedly upheld the right of that Caribbean nation’s online gambling industry to offer services to US customers, a ruling that could have a bearing on the outcome of Maryland’s litigation.[21]

Domain Return[edit]

In July 2017, the domain name has been returned in exchange for a $100,000 payment after Chief Judge Catherine Blake of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland accepted a resolution that dismissed all of the felony charges against Bodog and its founder.[22]

In September 2017, a case study, Do As I Say, Not As I do: How the WTO, Antigua and a Canadian Overcame American Hypocrisy on Free Trade''[23], published by Patrick Basham of Democracy Institute slams the United States hypocrisy for prosecuting Calvin Ayre, and shutting down Bodog in 2012. Bodog was operating its activities on an Antiguan license. The report outlines that the U.S. ignored both the Antiguan corporate angle and America’s Antiguan treaty obligations, and that American authorities attempted to erase, figuratively, Antigua from the global online gambling scene.[24] Critically, it found that The Illegal Gambling Business Act, which made it illegal for anyone to conduct a gambling business, was explicitly in conflict with America’s commitment under subsection 10D. Hence, the Appellate Body Report concluded that America was in violation of its obligations under its GATS Schedule by maintaining and enforcing these laws.[25]


  1. ^ Gray, John (October 24, 2005). "Calvin Ayre — The Dealer". Retrieved June 20, 2013. 
  2. ^ Russell, Potvin. "Top 10 Sites : Largest Online Gambling Companies 2016". GrizzlyG. Retrieved 5 June 2017. 
  3. ^ Miller, Matthew (March 11, 2006). "Catch Me If You Can". Retrieved June 18, 2013. 
  4. ^ "More International Expansion in the Cards as Pulls Advertising from the U.S. Market and Relocates Global Headquarters to Antigua". Retrieved 2015-04-04. 
  5. ^ "Wu-Tang Signs European Deal For New Album". May 3, 2007. Retrieved June 18, 2013. 
  6. ^ "BodogFight". Retrieved 2015-04-04. 
  7. ^ Ayre, Calvin. "The Making of". Retrieved June 20, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Tartan Display | Scottish Tartans Authority". 2010-03-20. Retrieved 2015-04-04. 
  9. ^ "Bodog Charity Event Supports US Soldiers". 2005-12-13. Retrieved 2015-04-04. 
  10. ^ Polson, Sarah (September 9, 2007). "Bodog signs with Morris Mohawk Gaming Group". Retrieved September 2, 2013. 
  11. ^ Wauters, Robin (June 1, 2010). "BodogBrand Bought For About $5.8 Million, Intends To License It". Retrieved September 2, 2013. []
  12. ^ "West Brom bag record-breaking sponsorship deal with Bodog". Daily Mail. London. June 27, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Ayr United announce continued sponsorship from Bodog – Ayr United Football Club". 2013-07-24. Retrieved 2015-04-04. 
  14. ^ "Club welcomes Bodog as official partner | News Archive | News". 2013-08-15. Retrieved 2015-04-04. 
  15. ^ "Why Bodog Signed On with the CFL". Retrieved September 2, 2013. 
  16. ^ Brown, Jonathan (February 2, 2017). "Bodog Poker Network Sold and Rebranded". Retrieved August 1, 2017. 
  17. ^ "Online poker traffic rankings". Retrieved August 1, 2017. 
  18. ^ "1st Technology/Bodog Patent Dispute Resolved". Reuter.coms. April 21, 2009. Retrieved September 2, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Morris Mohawk Rebrands in US with Bovada Domain". 2011-06-26. Archived from the original on 2012-03-10. Retrieved 2011-12-14. 
  20. ^ "Bodog gambling site shut down, Canadian owner indicted". CBC. February 29, 2012. Retrieved June 18, 2013. 
  21. ^ "WTO online gaming ruling could be trouble for United States". Antigua Observer. February 11, 2013. Retrieved June 18, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Charges dropped against Calvin Ayre, Bodog and friends". Steven Stradbrooke. July 14, 2017. Retrieved July 15, 2017. 
  23. ^ "Do As I Say, Not As I do: How the WTO, Antigua and a Canadian Overcame American Hypocrisy on Free Trade"] Check |url= value (help). Patrick Basham. Democracy Institute. September 2017. 
  24. ^ "DReport slams american trade hypocrisy"] Check |url= value (help). September 5, 2017. 
  25. ^ "DS285: United States — Measures Affecting the Cross-Border Supply of Gambling and Betting Services". World Trade Organization. 

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