Wednesday, 24th April 2024

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Catch Me If You Can

On a warm and bright morning just outside San Jose, Costa Rica, a slightly hungover Calvin Ayre was lying in his bathrobe in his Fulside office in a new 10,000-square-foot building worth $3.5 million (W1.5 billion). Sipping coffee poured by one of his five servants, the entrepreneur compared Son’s ‘technology of war’ and declared, “I’m going to win this war without a fight. I put a lot of energy into finding a way not to fight the enemy.”

In this tropical oasis, Ayre has avoided and ridiculed his enemies, primarily the U.S. Department of Justice. His Bodok Entertainment Group has a web gambling business that is not very professional. It takes bets from 16 million customers, most of them in the U.S. And it appears to violate the Article 181084 law of the U.S. Code, which prohibits the use of phones or other communication devices in “weekly or foreign transactions” to place bets. “Online gambling is illegal when it comes to America and its citizens, whether located overseas or not,” said a Justice Department official working on internet gambling crimes.

However, Bodok has no physical presence in the United States, Air is not an American citizen, and the scope of American law is unclear. After all, Air does not have assets in the United States to be controlled by the G-Men. 안전 토토사이트

Last year, Bodock, which took place behind closed doors, handled $7.3 billion in online bets, three times as much as in 2004. Ayre says all these bets brought him $210 million in sales, with 26 percent of his earnings as his final earnings. What is his business worth? Two similar ventures that are publicly traded seek more than 18 times their earnings. In that figure, Bodock gives Ayre a net worth of at least $1 billion, along with other assets.

For Ayre, not only the team but also the tax collectors are probably scrambling. Ayre, 44, makes up 95 percent of his sales in the United States, but in Korea, he doesn’t pay a penny of nickel in corporate or personal income tax. Is it legal? Foreigners are required to pay federal tax on their income derived from their U.S. business activities. They are in the state, and there are electronic roulette wheels and digitalized sports pools in Costa Rica. Where is the action? Assuming that IRS officials can agree to Ayre or his money, it remains to be seen whether they can make him pay.

In a derisive analysis of the law, he said, “We actually run a business in each country that we run that we can’t say is gambling. But put it all together, it’s internet gambling.”

With 2,400 internet gaming sites, the tracker Casino City estimates that hundreds of them operate in tax and regulatory shelters in Costa Rica. According to Christiansen Capital Advisors, a research company, they made $12 billion last year, which is twice the distance of Las Vegas. Ayre is earning his share from small-scale games (sports, poker, and casino games), a lot of marketing, and repetitive businesses.

Bodock is spending $80 million this year expanding beyond games to places like MySpace for adults. Most are pretty cheap entertainment, like the lingerie ball, a ridiculous pay-per-view cable that could replace his recent Super Bowl halftime show. Air is also supporting the careers of 12 lesser-known rock-and-hip-hop performances (Beef Naked and Syndicate Villain), producing poker shows with C-list celebrities such as Rob Mariano (a contestant on CBS Survivor) and Card Shark David Williams on cable TV. Although Air claims to make money someday, few of these businesses are profitable. However, it will probably entice customers to try their luck on Bodog.com . According to Hitwise, an internet tracker, 1.5 million visitors visit every month, which competes with those from Sportsbook.com , which is owned by the Sportingbet Group, which is traded by the London Stock Exchange, the world’s largest sports betting company.

Ayer especially likes to be seen with attractive women. He says he is single and does not have a stable girlfriend. He trained as a sniper in the Canadian army and was driven around in a black hummer by drivers who practiced in Somalia, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Why is it heavy metal? Ayer says he and three friends were robbed at gunpoint on the streets of San Jose a few years ago. His competitors say that Costa Rica needs bodyguards as much as Boca Raton.

Calvin Edward Air (pronounced “air”), who grew up in Lloydminster, Sask, is the son of a grain and pig farmer. He made his first bet as a teenager, playing blackjack for pennies with his colleagues on a long hockey trip across the Canadian tundra. While in University of Waterloo, Air was betting on sports and developing tastes for business. During the summer, he bought a 5-ton truck, loaded with cherries and peaches and sold the fruit to roadside drivers. He also planned trips to Florida and Cuba for his party classmates.

It didn’t take long for him to get into trouble. Ayre, who earned his master’s degree from Seattle City University, worked as the president of Bicer Medical Systems, a B.C. heart valve manufacturer, in June 1990. He says the company’s funding was scarce. According to a British Columbia Securities Commission document, Ayre sold 300,000 Bicer shares without releasing a prospectus. He also moved millions of shares between several accounts, including his own, without filing insider trading reports. “I knew I didn’t follow all the rules,” he says. “But I also knew I had to do that to maintain my budget.” Although he was not charged, Ayre agreed to a $10,000 fine in 1996 and a 20-year ban on operating a company listed on the Vancouver Exchange.

Meanwhile, Ayre borrowed a Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO – News – People) training manual to teach himself network design, and then attempted to set up several web-based investment companies, including Internet Voice-over-IP companies. Afterwards, he read a newspaper article about Ronald Sacco, an American bookie who founded an overseas telephone betting business in the Dominican Republic to avoid felony charges in the United States. “There was a loud bang in my head and the whole universe came together,” Ayre recalls. (Sako pleaded guilty to money laundering in 1994, and went to prison a year later. His business was later moved to Costa Rica.) Ayre invested $10,000 to build a web-based system for online betting, providing software to overseas bookie makers.

By 1996, he was in Costa Rica, helping open the first online casinos like Winxport and Grand Prix for other bookmakers. Internet gambling was basically unheard of, and there was a strong connection between gamblers and gamblers. Not only did Eyre want to encourage small bets to generate more predictable returns and returns, but he also wanted to pay his account with online checks instead of cash bags. “I was pioneering a new industry,” he says. Half right. Sportsbook.com was advocating for a similar model of taking bets from customers using credit cards issued by European banks.

Ayre opened his own site in April 2000, starting with Sports Betting. He had the option of paying by credit card and online check (from a U.S. account to Bodock’s London account), up to $5,000 and loads of pictures of pretty girls. Later, he added online poker and casino games. If he becomes a winner, he collects it by wire transfer. Perhaps you report your win in your 10s and 40s, but Ayre does not report it to the IRS.

For attention, Eyre began with the face of a fictional “Call Turner.” He convinced Christopher Costigan, the owner of “Gambling 911,” an online tabloid that promotes web gambling, to post a story of Turner, an Indiana Jones-like character. For example, in 2003, Eyre turned his vacation to Thailand into a Call Turner Internet adventure. Using a digital camera, a matchette, fake blood, and a cast of taxi driver and massage girls, Eyre spun the story of Turner leading an expedition to Cambodia to fight against Buddhist terrorist cells. While Turner was being captured by Cambodian troops, he was double-crossed by opium warlords in a lost ancient city and injured in a knife duel while escaping the country. Eyre wrote an eight-story series on a plane back to Costa Rica. It was unveiled during the college bowl season.

The series attracted attention. Disgusting bookers from rivals posted a note on an internet forum saying Turner was a terrible businessman because he ventured out without being at his desk during one of the busiest betting times of the year.

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