Bodog’s Ayre lists Yaletown, Costa Rica homes for sale
Where in the world is Calvin Ayre? The founder of the Bodog.com online gambling empire used to split his time between Vancouver, his adopted home, and Costa Rica, where Bodog’s operations were based.
But in 2007, under intense pressure from the U.S. Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service, he sold Bodog to business interests on the Kahnawake Reserve in Quebec and virtually disappeared from sight.
He has since listed his luxury Yaletown penthouse condo — actually two condos merged into one — for sale for $10 million.
And when I say luxury, I mean it. It’s located at 1199 Marinaside Cres., which fronts onto False Creek. It has 5,000 square feet, six-and-a-half baths, private outdoor decks, a 360-degree view, a 25-foot-high living room ceiling, a 1,200-bottle wine cellar, a panic room, three parking spaces, and comes completely furnished. Readers can take a virtual tour of the property at www.carros.ca/Properties.php/Details/63.
The asking price, however, seems excessive, given that the current assessed value is just $4.8 million.
Ayre has also listed his Costa Rican compound for $6 million, but that may not be an easy sale, according to Gambling911.com, an online gambling news website located in Miami. Squatters are reported to have invaded the property, and getting rid of them could be a problem: Costa Rican law gives squatters certain rights. Gambling911 says real estate experts suggest the property will sell for no more than $2 million.
According to posters on Casinomeister (an online gambling discussion forum), Ayre is rumoured to be living in Phuket, Thailand, and funding a new online sports betting venture called 9 Group, based in Malaysia and the Philippines.
9 Group is said to be targeting the Chinese market by promoting fun websites that will eventually be converted into real cash websites.
If true, 9 Group could quickly run into problems. China has taken a firm stand against Internet gambling. A few days ago, a Shanghai court sentenced 20 people to prison after convicting them of running on online sports gambling operation worth nearly $1 billion US.