The controversial Bodog group remained in the headlines this week following allegations that the company was in trouble and cutting hundreds of jobs in Canada (see previous InfoPowa report).
In sharp contrast to a very positive statement given to InfoPowa by Morris Mohawk Group's CEO Alwyn Morris earlier in the week, Vancouver Sun writer David Baines claimed that the Bodog online gambling empire "continues to crumble."
Baines bases his report on a number of concurrent factors - the action by federal authorities in the United States which has seen millions of dollars seized and a reportedly detailed ongoing investigation into the company's financial channels; the confirmed staff cutbacks; the possibility that Bodog-Morris Mohawk operations in the United States may cease; Bodog founder Calvin Ayre's recent 'retirement' announcement and reports on a range of Internet forums and media that players have had to endure slow-paying by the company.
Baines has received information confirming that more than 200 jobs have been lost at Fiver Media - formerly Riptown Media - which provides marketing and website support for Bodog from offices in Vancouver and Toronto. When he tried to follow through on the story by visiting the company and asking to speak to Fiver Media boss Jim Phillips, a Vancouver chartered accountant and former senior partner with the Vancouver accounting firm Morgan & Company, he was turned away despite noting that Phillips was in the office at the time.
"Phillips prefers to work in the background, Wizard of Oz style. But make no mistake: He has played an instrumental role in the development of Bodog's online gambling activities," Baines notes. "I would not be surprised if the U.S. Justice Department doesn't have him, as well as Ayre, in its crosshairs."
The Vancouver Sun piece summarises the report in Forbes Magazine that the U.S. government has seized $24 million from U.S. bank accounts linked to Bodog, pointing out that this has caused serious problems. Baines recalls Ayre's retirement, handing authority over Bodog North American operations to Alwyn Morris's company Morris Mohawk Gaming in Kahnawake.
But Baines suggests that the retirement really amounts to an exile, with Ayre effectively unable to risk entering the United States or his home country Canada for fear of arrest.
The Vancouver Sun confirms that Bodog's support operations in British Columbia consist of Fiver Media, which operates from an office in Vancouver, and Triple Crown Customer Service, which provides customer account service from an office in Burnaby. Triple Crown's status is unclear, with its website currently "under construction."