Born in 1961, in Saskatchewan, Canada, Calvin Ayre is the founder of Bodog.
Calvin Ayre (pronounced “air”) received a Bachelor of Sciences in General Sciences from the University of Waterloo in 1984 and an MBA in Management Finance from City University in Seattle in 1989. In 1990, after graduation, he was hired as president of Bicer Medical Systems, a Vancouver, B.C. heart-valve manufacturer that was listed on the Vancouver Stock Exchange in Canada. The company was in financial trouble so Ayre sold 300,000 shares of the company without releasing a prospectus. He also engaged in transactions of stock without filing an insider trading report. He knew he wasn't following the rules, but did it to keep the company alive. Ayre was never charged, but in 1996, he agreed to a voluntary settlement with the BC Securities Commission for a $10,000 fine and a 20-year prohibition from running a company listed on the Vancouver Exchange.
Ayre launching several Web-based companies, including a voice-over-IP company, but all of them failed. Then one day read a newspaper story about a U.S. bookie who had set up an offshore phone-based betting company in the Dominican Republic. And that's when he got his big idea. He sold everything he had and invested $10,000 to build a web-based system for making online bets. His company would provide software to offshore bookmakers. By 1996 he was in Costa Rica, helping other bookmakers launch some of the first online casinos.
Although it was originally conceived as a software development company, Bodog evolved into its own online gaming website. Ayre launched his own sports betting site in 2000, later adding online poker and casino games.
To create attention for the site, Ayre created the fictitious "Cole Turner" as the public face of Bodog. Cole Turner was an Indiana Jones-like character who went on crazy adventures around the world, but most people thought he was real. But Ayre eventually let everyone know that the character was just a marketing trick.
Over the next few years, Bodog was one of the few online gaming companies to aggressively market itself. It spend millions of dollars on savvy marketing campaigns promoting itself as a brand, including hosting of the Lingerie Bowl, a raunchy pay-per-view cable alternative to the Super Bowl halftime show.
Bodog operations were based in Costa Rica, where they customer service reps helped out Bodog's customers. Bodog's marketing, however, was based in Vancouver BC, where their graphic designers and computer programmers work at Riptown Media, whose only client is Bodog.
In 2005, Ayre stated that the privately held Bodog handled $7.3 billion in online wagers, triple the volume of 2004. He said sales were $210 million, and that he 26% of that was profit. This means that Bodog would be worth over $1 billion, if it were given the same valuation as some of the other publicly-traded online gambling companies in Europe at the time.
Following the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in 2006, Bodog withdrew from the United States, and instead licensed its brand to the Morris Mohawk Gaming Group, which then operated its own online gaming website servicing US customers under the Bodog brand. As a result of this transition, Ayre announced his retirement in April 2008, saying that he wanted to devote his time to The Calvin Ayre Foundation. He retained an interest in the brand licensing organization BodogBrand.com, which owns and licenses the Bodog brand to various licensees in the entertainment industry.
Ayre has gained a repuation for taunting his regulatory enemies, the main one being the U.S. Department of Justice. Since Bodog has no physical presence in the U.S. and Ayre is not an American citizen, he has been able to stay out of legal trouble, unlike some of the other online gambling executives.
In 2006, Ayre's mansion was raided by Costa Rican officials when they got word that Ayre was running a private poker game. But nothing illegal was going on, and nothing came of it.
Founded in 2005 and headquartered in Antigua, the Calvin Ayre Foundation is a private and independent foundation with a charter to do charitable work worldwide. The Foundation has pledged millions of dollars and hundreds of hours in support of individuals, communities and charitable organizations throughout the world.
Ayre is one of the most well-known bachelors and likes to be spend time with, and be seen with, attractive women.
Ayre's homes in San José, Costa Rica were featured on a 2008 episode of MTV Cribs. He also owns a house in Antigua, the base of Bodog Entertainment. Ayre was featured as the cover story for Forbes Magazine's 2006 annual “Billionaires” edition, featured in People Magazine’s “Hottest Bachelor” list, and Star Magazine’s "Most Eligible Billionaire Bachelors” list in late 2007.
In 2009, Ayre launched CalvinAyre.com, a blog targeting the online gaming industry.
HPG ADMIN on February 27, 2013