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Who is the Billionaire Calvin Ayre?

Who is the Billionaire Calvin Ayre?

Calvin Ayre is a well-known name in online gambling and, in recent years, an important figure in the cryptocurrency industry. The Canadian billionaire came a long way and is regarded as one of the most influential people in the industry. Born in 1961 near Lloydminster, Saskatchewan he went to high school in Salmon Arm and received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Waterloo. A few years later, he got an MBA from the City University of Seattle in management finance, but his big break in the online gambling industry came in the mid-90s.

Gambling and Internet – A Match Made in Heaven 

Calvin Ayre was among the first to realize the opportunities offered by online gambling, an industry that was still in its infant stage. He founded a very popular online sports betting site, Bodog, in the mid-90s to provide online casinos with software before setting up his own gaming operation in 2000. The company proved to be a huge hit, and by 2006, he was featured in the Forbes Annual Billionaires Edition, as one of the youngest members. Calvin was happy to embrace the new image and became famous for hosting glamorous parties in Antigua and Costa Rica. This way of living went on to be known as “the Bodog lifestyle” and, as expected, provided prospective players with the incentive to try online gambling for a chance to win big. 

Today, so many online casinos exist that some websites even provide ways to compare the best slot sites and learn about the relative benefits of each. 

UIGEA Strikes a Deadly Blow to Bodog 

Bodog’s success exceeded all expectations, and peaked in 2006, when it recorded huge turnovers and massive revenue. Unfortunately for Calvin Ayre and his promising company, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2016 brought Bodog to its knees. The law made it impossible for his business to cater to US citizens any longer, and he had no choice but to withdraw from the market. Over the next five years, the brand was licensed to the Morris Mohawk Gaming Group where it continued to operate until 2011. At the same time, it continued to accept players from other countries, which brought him into the crosshairs of prosecutors. 

Cryptocurrency is the Final Frontier 

Calvin Ayre’s expansion beyond the world of online gambling began in the form of non-gaming properties, conferences, and a music record label. The Canadian billionaire also ran a televised poker series and promoted the series with glamorous parties from his properties in Costa Rica. In 2016 he turned his eye to the cryptocurrency industry and purchased the cryptocurrency news website Coingeek. This ended up becoming the largest miner of Bitcoin Cash in 2018, and in the same year, he announced his intention to build a five-star resort in Antigua. Estimated at $100 million, this massive project is supposed to be financed exclusively by the profits he made over the years from trading cryptocurrency.  

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by Harvey Carr // Harvey Carr is a contributor to Businessing Magazine.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.