Interesting interview with Calvin Ayre here:
It's rather long, but I found the following points worthy of note:
* The patent dispute with First Technologies LLC has been finalised under terms that are being kept confidential. Ayre gives full credit to Alwyn Morris for this breakthrough, which has enabled Bodog to retrieve its domains. Ayre goes into some detail in the rather convoluted manner in which the Bodog brand has been licensed.
* Ayre now permanently resident on Antigua (he does some serious praising of the Antigua online gambling regulators) He has been running his charities, doing some undetailed European and Asian consulting, running a coffee business, putting together the relationship with Haydock where he claims Bodog games will soon appear, together with a re-branding to Bodog. He appears to have bigger plans for the Haydock deal "in the coming months". Ayre also hints at European developments when he says: "Stay tuned for some very interesting developments in Europe, and discussions have already begun with potential licensees for the Canadian and other markets."
* Wider usage of the Bodog brand. Ayre says: "Bodog is often approached and is considering brand license arrangements with a number of potential partners, including a clothing line in the UK and certain retail offerings. They’re also in the process of formalizing a process for potentially interested partners to make this submission and evaluation process simpler – they will be launching a website at www.bodogbrand.com shortly, which will tell others who think they have a product that will suit an edgy street brand like bodog, how they can enter into discussions with us. We hope to have this up over the next few months as I think there are a ton of products that can be in the market under the bodog brand.
* On the relationship with Mohawk Morris: "Well, it’s public knowledge that Bodog of Antigua left the US market after the passing of the UIGEA in the US, just like the UK public companies. Instead of just abandoning the market, though, it sold some of its infrastructure to the MMGG and then entered into a brand license agreement with them, which allowed the MMGG to use the Bodog brand to promote their online gaming services in the US. As part of the arrangement, I agreed with Alwyn to do some transitional media relations for a period after Bodog withdrew, but at that point I was already committed to retiring for a while to recharge after a great but exhausting run.
"It’s funny – I often hear people say that “Bodog” never left the US market following the passage of the UIGEA. I suppose in a way that’s true, as the brand continued to thrive there, but in a deeper sense, the operation that was “Bodog” pre-2006 did, in fact, leave the US. The fact that the customer experience was seamless is only testament to the enormous efforts of the MMGG transition team as they moved everything to the MMGG offices in Kahnawake."
* Thinks live dealer is the next big wave, especially in Asia. Big US gambling companies entry into the industry is only a matter of time.
* On technology development: "
Bodog, while primarily a brand licensing organization, does still develop, own and license technology to both its brand licensees and to others, and it now gets its development done in Europe and Asia. Bodog would have loved to have left this work with the Canadian suppliers and left those jobs and tax revenue there. But, ultimately the simple fact is that the regulatory environment in these other jurisdictions is more certain."
* On his personal ‘billionaire' status: "Most of my wealth was lost when the value of Bodog was significantly reduced in 2006 due to policy changes in its primary market. I have also donated a lot to charities and causes that I’m passionate about over the years, but the journey so far has been fun, so I have no regrets. After all, I’m here on the phone looking out at the beach – it would be pretty ungrateful of me to complain."
* On the US market: "….the US certainly appears to be trending towards liberalizing its stance, and there are many indications that intra-state poker and sports betting are being seriously considered by state governments. I thought Harrah’s hiring of Mitch Garber, who previously ran PartyGaming, was interesting timing given that the ink on the press release announcing that Party had bought itself a $105 million dollar non-prosecution agreement wasn’t even dry. Will Harrah’s look to offer online intra-state poker in the coming months? Hmmm… I wonder if they’ll license the platform from Party… It doesn’t exactly take a genius to see the writing on the wall. All said, I do hope that the US finds a rational way forward, but the various political agendas in play make predicting a specific outcome almost impossible."
* On travel to the USA: "I do like the US, but after all I live on a beach and most of my holidays and travel these days takes place in Europe and occasionally in Asia; there are a lot of places in the world that I’ve yet to visit that are higher on my list than the US, which I’ve already traveled extensively….I’ll likely get back there one day."
* Currently working on a "lighthearted and entertaining website featuring industry news" which will feature a dog named Bo Da Dogg who is going to be making an appearance as an industry analyst. "He is a year-old British Bulldog with a sharp tongue, a big heart and a face only a mother could love. The girls do seem to love him, though."