The lawsuit, initiated by plaintiff Billi Jo Woods, allegedly accuses Bovada of operating an illegal gambling entity within the state, leading to significant financial losses for its users.
Lawsuit Targets Bovada and its Affiliates for Alleged Gambling Violations
The legal action targets Morris Mohawk Gaming Group, along with Alywin Morris, Calvin Ayre, and Harp Media BV, as defendants. Bovada, known for its extensive offerings in offshore sports betting and online casinos, has been alleged to offer gambling services that violate federal law by operating in the US.
The lawsuit, filed in the Eastern District of Kentucky, seeks class certification and aims to recover damages exceeding $5 million, as reported by Legal Sports Report. The heart of the plaintiff’s claim rests on a Kentucky gambling loss recovery statute from the 1800s, which permits individuals who lost money through gambling to sue for compensation. Kentucky law allows for trebling of damages in certain cases.
The complaint centers on the assertion that Bovada’s operations have violated Kentucky law and exploited thousands of consumers. The plaintiffs seek to recover both the financial losses incurred by individuals and the legal fees associated with the case. The lawsuit hinges on federal diversity jurisdiction, which enables the resolution of state law disputes in federal courts.
Kentucky Lawsuit Echoes PokerStars Settlement
Billi Jo Woods, a Kentucky resident, claims to have lost thousands of dollars gambling on Bovada’s websites. The lawsuit further implicates Morris Mohawk Gaming Group, a company based in the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory in Quebec, Canada. The group allegedly earns substantial revenues from various internet domains, including those connected to Bovada.
Bovada is a subsidiary of the offshore gambling giant Bodog. Originally founded by billionaire Calvin Ayre, now a defendant, Bodog’s history includes Ayre’s claim of leaving the gambling world in 2009. Despite his departure, his website CalvinAyre.com remained a gambling news hub until 2021, when it shifted focus to cryptocurrency.
Bodog’s journey involved intricate corporate changes over time, making it challenging to trace its varied pursuits. For instance, Bodog’s poker division was sold to Ignition Casino in 2016, and later Ignition Casino shifted ownership to Hong Kong-based investment group PaiWangLuo in the following year.
The Kentucky lawsuit parallels previous legal actions, such as the settlement between Kentucky and PokerStars, where a similar loss recovery statute played a crucial role. As the case unfolds, the outcome could potentially reshape the accountability and legality of offshore gambling operations, impacting both players and operators alike.