If you thought the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was done nabbing online poker websites after it seized the domains AbsolutePoker.com, FullTiltPoker.com, and PokerStars.com on Black Friday and then others such as TruePoker.com and DoylesRoom.com the following month, you were just a little bit off. Despite the fact that there are barely any U.S.-facing online poker sites remaining, the DHS continues to shut them down. The latest is one that hasn’t even been operator under the domain name that was actually seized: Bodog.com.
Bill Beatty of CalvinAyre.com, Bodog’s founder’s website, broke the news Monday, though anyone who may have visited Bodog.com likely would have seen the oversized seizure notice, complete with the U.S. Department of Justice and DHS logos. Interestingly, despite the site’s unofficial ties to Bodog, Beatty said that they only found out because of a “leaked VeriSign notice sent to the international registrar managing the domain.”
All this seemed to be at least a bit amusing to Calvin Ayre, who told Beatty, “Not sure what to say. BodogBrand.com is a brand-licensing organisation based outside the US. The brand left the market last year and the domain in question has been dormant globally for longer than that. We are only currently doing brand licensing deals outside the US so this domain had no place in any of our current plans.”
In his article, Beatty conjectured, “The seizure could be some sort of revenge action against the Bodog Brand as a punishment for its past licensing of the domain name to a company with US facing business.”
In July, the BodogBrand.com announced that it was going to allow its brand licensing agreement with Morris Mohawk Gaming Group to expire at the end of the year, thus marking its exit from the U.S. market. In mid-December, however, Bodog opened up a new site for players in the U.S. called Bovada.lv. Despite the different name, it is essentially Bodog.com reborn, only just for American customers.
Revenge isn’t the only motive for the domain name seizure that Beatty puts forth. He suggests that the seizure is a scare tactic, writing, “Sportsbook.com, BetOnline.com and Merge Gaming Network (rumoured to be owned by Sportsbook.com) all use a .com for their online business. Other sites such as BetUS.com and LockPoker.com use a redirect to send their traffic to a more friendly country coded domain such as BetUS.com.pa but as we’ve just seen, the US Government will seize inactive domains in an effort to intimidate internationally licensed companies.”
He also shares a similar mindset to many in the poker community, saying, “We have not received word on the other gambling companies still actively using .coms but we can assume Bodog.com won’t be the last domain taken in the US Government’s razing of the competition as it clears way for the large Nevada casino corporations to dominate under a proposed federal poker regulatory scheme.”
Because Bodog.com was not in use as an online gambling site, the domain name seizure will have no effect on Bodog players. Bodog.eu is still operational, as is the U.S.-facing “Bodog” site, Bovada.lv.