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26 Ιουν 2012 (πριν από 6 χρόνια και 7 μήνες)

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Executive Director:
Michael Corfman
Marketing Director:
Andrea Mullaney
Program Manager:
Steven Corfman
Program Coordinator:
Nancy Troy
Account Manager:
Eric Almquist
GPWA Times Magazine
Managing Editor:
Vin Narayanan
Senior Editor:
Gary Trask
Associate Editor:
Dan Igo
Copy Chief:
Bill Riley
George Choi
To advertise in the
GPWA Times, please

To subscribe to the
GPWA Times, simply
register at
and provide your
mailing address.
It’s FREE!
ISSN 1941-9872
t’s September. Back to school, back
to work – and for affiliates it’s time
to hit the road for another round
of conferences and shows. We’re
especially excited about where we’ll be
this month – Hungary for the Budapest
Affiliate Conference followed by
Denmark for EiG 2009 in Copenhagen.
Hope to see you at one or both of these
major events.
This issue of the GPWA Times
magazine, the tenth, features a cover
story about all things Calvin – Calvin
Ayre, that is, and his new role with
Bodog. Rebecca Liggero met with
Calvin in Antigua, where he revealed
his plans for the reincarnation of the
Bodog brand. Then she interviewed
three of the major players who will
make it happen: Keith McDonnell,
Bodog Europe and Bodog Canada;
Alwyn Morris, Mohawk Gaming Group,
Bodog’s U.S.-facing brand licensee; and
Ian Dunning, Haydock Entertainment,
Bodog’s Asia-facing licensee. Buried
somewhere in the midst of all this
interviewing, Rebecca also makes an
earthshaking personal announcement
(you’ll have to look for it yourselves,
because right now I find it too difficult
to speak of).
Also inside, Vin Narayanan takes us
into the over-the-top world of nightlife
on the Strip. Jeremy Enke offers poker
affiliates useful tips on growing their
businesses in the current economy.
SEO guru Gary Beal shows us how
Google Geographical Targeting can
enhance your presence in today’s
hypercompetitive marketplace. Gary
Trask takes a look at why online poker
is so big in the U.S. Karim Wilkins
gives us the back story on rakeback.
And Andrew Mueller weighs in with
five good reasons to use Affiliate Guard
Dog’s payments calendar (reason five:
“Because it is fun”).
As always, our affiliate and affiliate
manager interviews provide sage
advice, off-the-wall humor and pretty
good gossip. And for the latest cartoon
contest, industry developments
and GPWA news don’t miss our
Departments sections.
Before I sign off, I’d like to propose a
toast: Here’s to an awesome autumn
for all of us – and good luck to you,
Rebecca, wherever you are!
Michael A. Corfman
GPWA Executive Director
Straighten Up and Fly Right
Jeremy Enke presents poker affiliates with five ways
to navigate successfully through today’s economic
RakeTheRake –
The Full Story on Rakeback
Karim Wilkins explains how you can please some
players all of the time and all players some of the time,
but you can’t please all of them all of the time.
Online Poker in the USA – Strong,
Steady and Here to Stay!
Ever since the UIGEA was passed, Gary Trask writes,
online gaming has seen a lot of volatility – but the one
constant has always been online poker.
The VIP Experience –
Nightlife in Vegas
Vin Narayanan and Rebecca Liggero hit some of Sin
City’s biggest WSOP summer bashes and come to the
same conclusion as so many have before: You haven’t
partied until you’ve partied in Las Vegas.
Cover Story: Calvin Ayre – Back in
Bodog Land
After a wild post-UIGEA journey, Calvin’s back, and this
time around it’s all about branding. After interviewing
Ayre himself, Rebecca Liggero talks with three key
people who at this very moment are implementing the
Bodog makeover.
Go Global – The Markets Are Soft
Gary Beal unravels the mysteries of Google Geographical
Targeting, and demonstrates how affiliates can use it to
compete with corporatist-funded SEO and CPC.
Affiliate Guard Dog’s
Payments Calendar
Ever wonder if other affiliates are being paid when you’re
not? Andrew Mueller shows how using this new client-
server tool lets you track the payments being made by
the programs you promote.
6 Webmaster News
8 By the Numbers
10 Cartoon Caption Contest
28 Event Calendar
48 GPWA Sponsors
50 GPWA Seal of Approval Program
58 Affiliate Interview Series
72 Affiliate Manager Interviews
80 APCW’s Wall of Shame

Table of Contents


Russian gambling market takes a hit
Bing steps into search engine battle against Google
“Internet gambling in the
United States should be
controlled by a strict federal
licensing and regulatory
framework to protect
underage and otherwise
vulnerable individuals, to
ensure the games are fair, to
address the concerns of law
enforcement, and to enforce
any limitations on the activity
established by the states and
Indian tribes.”
— A passage from a bill introduced by Barney
Frank (D-Mass.) and Peter King (R-N.Y.)
“WPT Slovakia
is a unique and
exciting addition to
the World Poker
Tour’s expanding
tournament offering.”

— Steve Lipscomb, WPT Founder
and CEO. WPT Slovakia will be
the first WPT event in Central and
Eastern Europe.
crackdown on gam
bling in Russia that
has been in the works for
nearly three years finally
became a reality in July.
Prime Minister Vladi
mir Putin proposed
the legislation when he
was president back in
2006, citing he want
ed to wipe out what
he termed an “im
moral industry.” The
new law bans gam
bling on the
Internet and
in gambling
halls as well
as at airports,
and any other sites. All gam
bling activity is now confined
to four remote areas -- the
Primore region in Russia’s
far east, the Baltic region of
Kaliningrad, the Altai region
of Siberia and the Azov Sea in
the South.
The news got worse weeks
later when Russian officials
announced that an error was
made in 2007 when poker
was added to the list of official
sports in Russia. As a result all
poker clubs in
Russia were
closed and
the Poker
sored Euro
pean Poker
Tour, which
was sched
uled to hold
its first event in Moscow this
summer, was forced to change
its venue.
“We are in mourning,” said
Dmitry Lesoni, the head of
the Russian Sport Poker Fed
eration on the federation’s
Web site. “We lost. But we
fought until the last card was
laid down on the table.”
The popularity of poker has
erupted in Russia over the
last 10 years. Last year, Rus
sian professional Ivan Demi
dov became the first player
in history to
reach the final
table in the Main
Event of both
the World Series
of Poker and the
World Series of
Poker Europe.
And this past
summer in Las
Vegas, Vitaly Lunkin took the
WSOP by storm when he won
the special $40,000 Hold’em
Event and had two other Top-
5 finishes in gold bracelet
events, including the pres
tigious $50,000 H.O.R.S.E.
World Championship.
he search engine wars
are heating up. In June,
Microsoft launched Bing in
an effort to revive its mori
bund search engine busi
ness. And in July, Micro
soft and Yahoo! reached a
10-year agreement in which
Yahoo! will use Bing as its
search engine.
The moves thrust Bing, which
opened to generally good re
views, into the role of Google
challenger in the search en
gine business. In July, Bing
increased its U.S. marketplace
share to 8.9 percent, a .5 per
cent increase from the previ
ous month. Meanwhile Google
market share dipped .3 percent
to 64.7 percent and Yahoo! fell
.3 percent to 19.3%.
Google is still well ahead of
Bing, and the eventual Ya
hoo!-Bing partnership. But
it isn’t standing still. In Au
gust, Google released “Caf
feine,” a test version of its
new search engine for Web
The caffein
ated version
of Google is
designed to
“push the
envelope on
size, index
ing speed,
accuracy, comprehensive
ness and other dimensions,”
according to an entry on the
Google Webmaster Central
As the Google and Bing
press ahead with their
search engine plans, tools
to help webmasters keep up
with the changes are crop
ping up. At bing-vs-google.
com, webmasters can type
in a search term and com
pare results
from Bing and
Google in side-
by-side panes.
And compare
- does
a similar thing
with caffeinated
and decaffein
ated versions of Google.


etOnSports founder Gary
Kaplan agreed to a plea
deal in July and will be sen
tenced to between 41 and 51
months in prison and forfeit
$43.65 million, according to a
statement released by Acting
United States Attorney Mi
chael Reap.
“Kaplan admitted in court
that beginning in the mid to
late 1990s, he set up business
entities offshore in Aruba,
Antigua and eventually Costa
Rica to provide sportsbook
services to U.S. residents
through Internet websites and
toll-free telephone numbers,”
the statement reads.
Kaplan was arrested in March
of 2007 in the Dominican
Republic and faced 20
felony charges for allowing
U.S. bettors to gamble at
BetOnSports. As part of the
plea arrangement, Kaplan
will plead guilty to charges
of conspiracy to violate the
RICO statute, conspiring to
violate the Wire Wager Act and
violating the Wire Wager Act.
“Gary Kaplan made millions
of dollars by making it too
easy for people to gamble
away their hard earned money
without having to leave their
homes,” said FBI Special
Agent in Charge John Gillies.
“Today’s guilty plea should
have a lasting effect, because
Kaplan was not only the
founder of BetOnSports, he
was also one of the pioneers of
illegal online gambling.”
Kaplan ran illegal sports
betting operations in New
York and Miami before setting
up BetOnSports in Antigua
and Costa Rica. Kaplan
was indicted for his role in
BetOnSports in 2006.
In April, former BetOnSports
CEO David Carruthers
pled guilty to racketeering
c o n s p i r a c y
and agreed to testify against
Kaplan in exchange for
receiving no more than 33
months in jail.
BetOnSports agreed in
May of 2007 to provide
witnesses and evidence
against Carruthers and
Kaplan. In return, then
U.S. Attorney Cathe
rine Hanaway agreed to
bring no further charges
against any BetOnSports
BetOnSports founder reaches plea deal
“We believe it is
logical to assume that
the U.S. market will
eventually regulate
given the potential
implications for U.S. tax
take, if nothing else.”
— Investment firm Goldman Sachs in
a note to investors
“National Poker
Week, with events in
Washington, D.C., and
across the country,
is the PPA’s way to
make it clear to my
former colleagues in
the U.S. Congress that
poker is important to
voters and is here to
— PPA Chairman and Former
Senator Alfonse D’Amato
“The U.S. will be protectionist
even if it regulates, and its
withdrawal from its GATS
commitments means that
it doesn’t have to conform
to any WTO regulation on
Internet gambling.”

— 888 CEO Gigi Levy
“It’s going to be an
uphill battle to stop it
this time. We caught
them off guard last
time. This time, they
won’t be off guard.”
— Alabama Rep. Spencer Bachus on
Barney Frank’s new gambling bill
“So it is my intention
this fall to bring up
in the committee bills
that I’m sponsoring.
I think they’re going
to pass. I am really
optimistic we’re going
to get this repealed.”
— Barney Frank
“People have a right
to play poker in
their homes and the
federal government
doesn’t have a right
to enforce against
— Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.)
Webmaster News
“Intertops Casino is
proud to have been
powered by such a
reputable, market-
leading, gaming
software provider
over the past decade.
The assistance that
Microgaming has
provided in the
change process
has been extremely
— Intertops executive Michl Posch
after the online casino chose to end
its partnership with Microgaming

The number of online
gambling sites on a
blacklist from the state of
$33 million
The amount of money
seized by the Southern
District of New York
from two poker payment
$40 million
The guaranteed prize
pool at PokerStars’ World
Championship of Online
The estimated number
of poker players who
were turned away from
the WSOP Main Event
because the event sold
€1.7 million
The amount up for grabs
“World’s Biggest Rake
Chase” promotion.
307 million
The number of visitors to
Facebook in April.
The number of events in
the Full Tilt Online Poker
$7 million
The amount that Neil Scott
Kaplan and Lori Beth
Kaplan-Multz, siblings
of BetOnSports founder
Gary Kaplan, agreed to
forfeit after pleading guilty
to federal racketeering
The amount offered by to
poker rooms in a contest
for the most pokerbot-
friendly site.
18.1 million
The projected number of
Twitter users in the U.S.
in 2010, according to
The fine for a first-time
offender if he or she is
caught viewing gambling
Web sites while using the
Utah Transit Authority’s
free Wi-Fi service.
Percentage of U.S.
Internet users that
watched online video daily
or every other day in 2008,
according to a study by
Universal McCann.
The number of entrants
at the World Series of
Poker’s $1,500 “Stimulus
Special,” a record for a
non-Main Event.
The percent shareholding
of SportsBet acquired by
Paddy Power.
18 hours and
44 minutes
The length of play at the
final table of the $50,000
H.O.R.S.E. tournament at
the WSOP, eventually won
by David Bach.
€1.2 million
The amount won by
a Swedish woman on
the “Mega Moolah” slot
machine at Unibet Casino.
Percentage of the U.S.
female population that
participates in some type
of social media at least
once a week, according
to the 2009 Social Media

By the Numbers



Last issue’s cartoon
In our last issue we asked for the cartoon caption pictured
on the left, where an affiliate attending a family reunion is
having difficulty explaining what he does for a living.
The winner is...
For the last time mom, google bot
is NOT a movie character played by
Arnold Schwarzenegger...
— Melvin
Congratulations to “Melvin,” who wins a free iGaming Business Directory.
And the runners-up...
“For the last time Mom, I do NOT sell porn!.... can I please
have lunch now?”
— WagerX
“When I said we were going to play Bingo, I did not mean
— Chips
“Sigh.......I’ve told you mom, I am not a criminal.”
— TheBoyMitchell
“Reunion?? What reunion?? I didn’t read anything on GPWA
about a family reunion! Last night?!”
— thepokerkeep
Drawings by Ben Riley,
Caption Contest

“If only I had a crystal ball . . .”
– Everyone’s wished it at one time
or another, but this GPWA affiliate
has decided to try the real thing.
Judging by the look on his face, the
fortune-teller must be giving him a
real earful.
What does she see in our intrepid
affiliate’s future? Will he be sorry
he ever decided to take this cosmic
shortcut? Should he have opted for
a Tarot card reading instead? Tough
questions, and the answers must
come from you. Tell us what she is
saying here!
Go to the GPWA Forums at and submit your caption
for this cartoon. We’ll do our own
psychic reading on all entries and
select the one that emanates the
purest vibration. The winner will be
announced in our next issue and will
receive a free copy of the iGaming
Business Directory.

Caption Contest

By Jeremy Enke
here is no question that the recent
downswing in the global economy
has indeed taken its toll on many
industries, including the poker affiliate
industry. Whether it is poker affiliate
programs shutting down, slow paying,
advertising budgets drying
up, or even the passing on
of additional expenses to af
filiates, our industry is see
ing the effects of the global
financial crisis firsthand.
Although poker affiliate mar
keting is by no means reces
sion proof, the good news is
that we have the ability to
create our own destiny and future re
gardless of the economy. In many other
careers, individuals are at the mercy of
their employer, and unfortunately their
earning potential has been significantly
decreased during these rough economic
In this article I hope to share some tips
and advice on how poker affiliates can
continue growing their businesses and
increase their monthly revenues despite
the global financial crisis.

First and foremost, it has never been
more important to think “outside the
box” than it is now. As the poker affili
ate market has matured over the years, so
has the competition. The techniques and
strategies we used even a few years ago to
be successful won’t necessarily give us the
same returns now. Let’s look at a few ar
eas that poker affiliates need to embrace
in the coming years to achieve the maxi
mum amount of success.
– Whether you love
it or hate it, rakeback is here to
stay and it’s only going to continue
growing in the coming years. As more
and more high-value players learn about
rakeback, this portion of our
market is going to see signifi
cant growth.
Many traditional poker af
filiates including myself have
been reluctant in the past
to offer rakeback because of
the enormous amount of ad
ministrative work required.
Imagine having to keep track
of and process hundreds of payments
each month to your players. Luckily how
ever there are programs out there now
that will automate the entire rakeback
business for you. In my opinion, the best
provider in the current market is (PAS)
Poker Affiliates: 5 Ways to Fly Right through Economic Turbulence
Poker Affiliates: 5 Ways to Fly Right through Economic Turbulence

Jeremy Enke
the CEO of Jeremy Enke’s Poker
Affliate Listings (
Jeremy has dedicated over six years to the poker affiliate market, with
an overall mission throughout this time of helping affiliate marketers reach
their full potential and become more successful in this terrific industry.
Jeremy has been involved in the poker affiliate industry since
2003. Founding the world’s largest poker affiliate community,
followed by the world’s largest poker affiliate network,
Jeremy likes to refer to himself as a self-proclaimed
Certified Baller. Jeremy’s sense of humor and
entrepreneurial spirit are second to none.
Poker Affiliates: 5 Ways to Fly Right through Economic Turbulence
Poker Affiliates: 5 Ways to Fly Right through Economic Turbulence
I don’t suggest by any means that tradi
tional affiliates completely change their
business model to rakeback. However,
I do suggest that as this section of the
market grows, all poker affiliates should
recognize the volume and profit potential
of adding a rakeback component to their
portfolio of sites or promotions.

– Unfortunately, achieving suc
cess as a poker affiliate is much
more challenging than simply putting up
a mini-site and buying a few links. No
matter how great your Web site is, or how
spectacular at SEO you are, high-value
players have become more savvy and are
consistently looking for the best value,
bonus or deal when signing up for a new
As poker affiliates our number-one goal is
to convert our traffic to depositing play
ers. To do this, it is critical that we have
clear “calls to action” and essentially are
giving these potential new players a rea
son to sign up at the poker room we are
promoting through our link.
Examples of how poker affiliates can add
value for potential players include incen
tive marketing with free poker cash, fre
eroll tournaments, promotional contests,
and rakeback.
The bottom line is that increased conver
sions are dependent on adding some sort
of value to your potential players. Be cre
ative and think outside the box!

– One of the best things about
being a poker affiliate is that we
are not bound by geographic restrictions.
Likewise the interest in online poker
continues to grow at an amazing pace
throughout the world. Just because your
office may be in the U.S. or U.K. doesn’t
mean that you cannot promote to poten
tial poker players on the other side of the

One way to globalize your poker affiliate
business is to have your entire Web site,
or even just your top converting pages,
translated into various other languages.
Here’s some food for thought: as Inter
net marketers we truly work in a global
marketplace, and within this marketplace
only 20 to 30 percent of the population
speaks English. Therefore by only having
your site or promotions published in Eng
lish, you are missing out on a significant
percentage of the global marketplace.
Whether you choose to globalize your
business through translation or other
methods such as foreign PPC strategy, it
is important to research the specific de
mographic and tailor your promotions or
campaigns accordingly.
– Traditionally the best
way to drive new players to online
poker rooms has been to build Web sites
based around certain keywords and then
optimize these sites to rank well in the
search engines.
While this is still a popular and effective
strategy, the technologies emerging every
day should not be overlooked. As men
tioned earlier in the article, players are
increasingly looking for added value. If
you are an entrepreneur and a creative
thinker (which most poker affiliates are)
you should consider thinking outside the
box and developing some sort of tool, wid
get or application that could benefit poker
players and in return drive more deposit
ing players through your trackers.
Developing a unique tool, widget or ap
plication in the online poker industry is
a great way to differentiate yourself from
other affiliates and drive incremental sign-
ups that you may not have been able to
convert with a standard affiliate Web site.

– As the global economy and our
industry continue to see consolidation,
we as affiliates should also be thinking
strategically about the best
ways to grow our overall
business. One com
mon trait I
see with
almost all
filiates in the online poker market is that
they continually surround themselves
and work closely with other successful
poker affiliates.
Poker affiliates are an interesting breed
of marketers; each of us typically has a
specific skill set or insight that differenti
ates us from all the rest. Oftentimes when
affiliates combine their skill sets, insights
and ideas, they can see a much higher
level of overall success.
Whether a partnership or joint venture
is right for your business, the benefits of
networking cannot be overstated. The
poker affiliate market is unique in the
sense that although many of us compete
for the same players, we are mostly all
pretty good friends and willing to help
each other out. Being an active member
in online forums such as GPWA and PAL
is one of the easiest ways to network and
learn from fellow poker affiliates, as well
as meet other affiliates with whom you
may want to become partners someday.
Although the world economy is going
through one of the most turbulent times
in recent history, I am still confident that
the poker affiliate market is one that will
continue to be lucrative for many years to
come. The number of entrants (6,494)
in this year’s World Series of Poker Main
Event is yet another indication of poker’s
continued growth and popularity, and
gives us all a good reason to be thankful
that we’re a part of such a great industry!
Over the coming months and years, the
poker affiliates that will continue to pros
per will be the ones that adapt to an ever-
changing industry and embrace new tech
niques and strategies to attract
and convert new players to
online poker rooms.

For those of us who don’t know the
history of rakeback in the online
gaming industry, walk us through what
it is and how you eventually started
Sure. Players at an
online table pay a fee to the house to
use their software, etc. This is called the
rake. Revenue share affiliates are paid a
lifetime commission to bring players to
the poker room and this commission is
based on a fixed percentage of the rake
generated by those players.
A rakeback affiliate gives a proportion of
that rake commission back to the player,
hence the term “rakeback.” Rakeback
sites started popping up in the second
half of 2004 and I learned about it when
some guy used the poker chat to get me
to sign up with another Cryptologic skin
so he could give me rakeback.
He wasn’t asking me for any money so
I e-mailed him and asked for his Web
site address. He didn’t have one, so it
didn’t instill much confidence. I thought,
“I could do that,” so I did. Here we are
five years later with the biggest rakeback
affiliate in town.

When you first started out, how difficult
was it to secure rakeback deals for your
customers with poker rooms?
Not too
hard at all. The industry is still young
and five years ago it was much younger.
People wanted players and rakeback was
the new retention tool on the block. In
rakeback businesses, customer service
takes on a whole new dimension because
not only are you in constant contact with
players, but you’re also responsible for
payouts to them as well.
you also run exclusive tournaments at
all the top online poker sites. Are these
something you offer in an effort to
convert players? Or are they
more of a perk for members?
They are a perk and a
conversion tool. We were
the first rakeback affiliate to
ever do this. We first did it
with Absolute back in 2005.
We approached them asking
for a freeroll for our players.
To them it was just another
affiliate wanting a freeroll.
But they were shocked when
we offered to meet half the
cost. We never looked back, and now
we give back over $450,000 a month in
actual cash/live event packages to our
players on top of their rakeback. The
players love it!

you also actively solicit affiliates for
RakeTheRake. When did you start do
ing that? Why did you start doing that?

Well, we have more or less always had a
refer-a-friend program, but in July 2009
we launched our new white-label sys
tem,, which
enables anybody to set up a rakeback site
within minutes regardless of how techni
cally skilled they are.
How long did it take for you to start
earning money?
Not long at all. We
were lucky in that our first player was a
big raker!

What traits do you look for in an affiliate
program and an affiliate program?
think there are several things that make
an affiliate manager great. For instance
an affiliate manager who knows no time
zone and answers emails when we send
Those affiliate managers who can see the
bigger picture are few and far between. I
am talking about the ones who will agree
to promotions without a second thought
even if they won’t generate a profit for
four months. We have a few of these
affiliate managers. They realize that we
know what we are doing and that in the
long run the room will benefit hugely.
Great affiliate managers make great
affiliate programs. We will often work
with a room just because an affiliate
manager that we know turns up there.
Another thing that makes a program
good is one that looks after its affiliates
on a hospitality level. For example,
Chipleader is always spending money on
their affiliates but there are some big boys
out there who don’t send you so much as
a card for Christmas. It’s a small thing,
but it’s important.

If you could have one “super power,”
what would it be? And why?
– so I could get close to and take out the
very nasty people in this world.
What is your favorite movie? And why?
I have several, “The Good, the Bad
and the Ugly”; “Return of the Jedi”;
“Highlander”; “The Usual Suspects.”
There’s no real reason – I have a library
of over 1,000...they’re all good.

Assuming you could pick anyone in
the world (alive or dead), who would
be sitting at your dream poker table?
And why?
Now you haven’t limited my
number here addition to myself
there would be nine others: First, my
maternal grandfather – he loved a
game of cards and had he ever played
poker professionally I am confident he
would have kicked serious butt at the
tables! And here are the rest: Winston
Churchill, Muhammad Ali, The Prophet
Muhammad, Martin Luther King, Jesus
(not Fergusson), Shakespeare, Darwin
and Dickens.
Wow, that’s a lot of dead people. Oh, and
Elvis would deal.

The Full Story on Rakeback
Due to space constraints, we could not print the interviews in
its entirety. The complete text is posted at

By Gary Trask
ver since the Unlawful Internet
Gambling Enforcement Act was
passed nearly three years ago, the
online gaming world has been filled with
volatility. But the one constant has been
online poker.
In fact, online poker in the U.S. has not only
endured the UIGEA but has surmounted
other obstacles as well. Cheating scandals
have been featured on “60 Minutes.” The
worst recession since World War II has
affected spending habits of all Americans.
And payment processors in the U.S. have
been indicted.
But despite those impediments, the U.S.
still dominates the international market
for online poker. Just last month Poker
Players Research reported that there are
still more than 10 million real-money
poker players in the U.S. – more than
five times the number in the U.K., which
is the second-biggest market with 1.9
million players. (Germany was the next
on the list with 1.6 million, followed by
France with 1.3 million and Scandinavia
with 1.4 million players.) The two
biggest operators in the poker market
– PokerStars and Full Tilt – never left
the U.S. post-UIGEA and have used their
dominance to thrive in Europe and other
locations since the prize money in their
tournaments attracts players from all
over the world.
“Online poker is still the king,” says Ellen
Jacobs, a GPWA member best known as
“pokertramp.” “I’ve been involved with
it for almost 10 years and it’s changed a
great deal, but it’s still growing despite
all of the problems.”
There are many reasons why online
poker continues to thrive. There’s the fact
that it’s more of a skill game than other
casino games. Or that it’s a game that is
considered part of American culture. But
the biggest benefit that poker has over
other games offered online is that it is
increasingly glamorized by the media,
especially on TV by ESPN, which means
more players are attracted to the game.
“You watch poker on
TV and all you see is
these guys sitting there
with huge amounts of
chips sitting in front
of them,” says Jeremy
Enke, a veteran of the
poker affiliate industry
and the CEO of
com. “If you didn’t
know any better, you’d
think that all of these
guys have tons of
money and they never
lose. That’s what poker on TV portrays.
It glamorizes the game and makes it
attractive to people who may have never
played online.”
But as much as poker on TV has helped
the game grow, you have to credit the
game for making adaptations along
the way to accommodate the growing
number of players. Jacobs remembers
that when she first started playing there
were just a handful of sites to choose
from and the skill level of the players was
not impressive.
“I could play four or five hours a day
and make a living at it,” remembers
Jacobs, who is based in Australia and
runs several poker portals, including and “But
then the poker boom came along and
all of a sudden you had more and more
people learning how to play the game. It
became tougher for me to make money,
but it was a great thing for the game and
a great thing for the industry.”
As more and more players converged
online to play poker, the operators con
tinued to improve the manner in which
the game could be played. Software im
proved dramatically, making the game
more fun and eye-pleasing online. In ad
dition, the new software allowed players
to multi-table, something that was rare
as recent as four or five years ago.
Secondly, the skill level has been raised
even higher thanks to teaching Web
sites such as and that have helped
transform average players into a very
good player.
“Poker is one of those games that a player
realizes that if he works at it he can get
better and you can’t say that about slot
machines or even blackjack for that
matter,” says Enke. “Players work at
their game and before they know it the
game becomes more than just a hobby, it
becomes a way to make some real money
on the side.”
“The skill level of amateur players has
gone up dramatically,” adds 2004 World
Series of Poker Main Event champ Greg
Raymer. “The resources to improve your
game didn’t exist four or five years ago.
So nowadays it’s much easier to learn the
game and people are more serious about
improving their game rather than going
online and just playing.”
Among the obvious beneficiaries of the
growth of online poker have been the
“I promote about 90 percent poker
and that’s because I know it’s going to
be steady income,” says Jacobs. “You
would have thought the recession would
“Online poker is still the
king. I’ve been involved
with it for almost 10
years and it’s changed a
great deal, but it’s still
growing despite all of the
– Ellen Jacobs, “pokertramp”
Online Poker in the USA — Strong, Steady and Here to Stay!
Online Poker in the USA — Strong, Steady and Here to Stay!


have affected that, but it hasn’t. In fact,
it may have helped. People still want to
be entertained. And they can still do that
during a recession by staying home and
playing online.”
GPWA member Karim Wilkins took
advantage of the game’s continued
development and created RakeTheRake.
com, a poker loyalty site that educates
players on how to get the best deals with
the top rooms via rake races, freerolls and
cash back tournaments.
“Retention and loyalty are becoming
more and more important,” says Wilkins.
“There are so many poker rooms out there
for players to choose from, the good sites
need to distinguish themselves from a lot
of the dross. Rake The Rake is the perfect
vehicle to get this message across.”
But as much as online poker has grown
over the last decade, more change and
adaptation must take place in order for
the game to continue extending its reach
across the U.S. And a big part of that is
changing the perception of the average
person who believes online poker is a
sordid and underground industry.
Paul Mathews has 20 years of experi
ence in both online and land-based gam
ing and is the former senior vice presi
dent of International Game Technology.
Mathews thinks that
the first step in getting
online poker – or on
line gaming altogether
– regulated in the U.S.
is to change the per
“People in the U.S.
have to understand that
not only is it regulated
overseas, but some of
the biggest companies
in the world that are
publicly traded on the
stock market are in
volved,” says Mathews.
“This isn’t ‘Joe’s Casino’ with two guys in
a shack somewhere in the Caribbean. It’s
big-time companies like Ladbrokes and
Rank. And they have proven that this
kind of activity can be operated in a re
sponsible manner.”
Mathews also believes that the intra-
state online poker bill that’s on the table
in California could be the first step in
seeing U.S. regulation. He points out that
the history of gambling expansion works
with a domino effect, but that it’s typically
a slow process in the U.S.
“Land-based gaming started in one state
(Nevada) and then it took nearly four
decades to get to another (New Jersey),”
he explains. “Then after that we saw the
riverboats and the Native American casinos
and now there’s a number of states that have
it. So you’d have to think that if California
can get the ball rolling, other states where it
is viable would follow suit eventually.”
A study done by PricewaterhouseCoopers
showed that more than $50 billion could
have been generated during the next 10
years if online gaming legislation had
passed in 2009. But even without regu
lation there isn’t really much of a fear of
seeing online poker reach a saturation
“I don’t believe saturation is a reality.
However, more affiliates need to start
sharing the wealth with their players
more and help them with education,” says
Wilkins. “Affiliates need to work more
with players to see what they want rather
than just referring them to rooms and
forgetting about them. Most importantly,
affiliates need to be selective about whom
they choose to promote and make sure
the (programs) they are promoting are
reputable and have serious financial
Adds Enke: “The growth may slow down,
but I can’t really see the day when it dries
up. I mean you see the tobacco taxes going
up, but you don’t see many people quitting
smoking because of it. And if things ever
do dry up in the U.S. there are plenty of
other markets like Germany that are just
starting to open up, so I don’t see the day
when online poker struggles. Right now
it’s just too strong of an industry.”
“The skill level of amateur
players has gone up
dramatically. . . . People
are more serious about
improving their game
rather than going online
and just playing.”
– 2004 World Series of Poker Main
Event champ Greg Raymer
(10 Million Players)
(1.9 Million Players)
(1.6 Million Players)
(1.3 Million Players)
(1.4 Million Players)

Online Poker in the USA — Strong, Steady and Here to Stay!
Online Poker in the USA — Strong, Steady and Here to Stay!
VIP Experience

VIP Experience
The Story Name Goes Here

VIP Experience

VIP Experience
She then gave Gary and me the bracelets we needed to get in as well.
“See, you guys are getting in because you were nice and friendly.”
Gary and I thanked her and headed for the elevators, where we
punched the button for the 35th floor. After all, the Hugh Hefner
penthouse suite had to be on the top floor, right?
Not quite. It turns out that the suite is a two-floor affair and you can
only enter from the 34th floor. So we went back down a floor and
entered what can only be described as nirvana.
This two-floor suite can safely be described as the only way to live. The
first floor was divided into three parts.
The first section, closest to
the entrance, was a combi
nation lounge/dance floor,
complete with two raised
platforms for professional
dancers, plenty of room
for 20-30 people to com
fortably dance, a full bar
and luxurious couches and
Beyond the dance floor
was a balcony complete
with a sizable pool that
overlooked a panoramic
vista of Las Vegas. From one
spot, you could easily take
in the entire Strip, from the
Stratosphere all the way to
Mandalay Bay.
Tucked out of the way near
the staircase to the second
floor was an incredible
media room. It had three or
four flat-screen televisions
and the most comfortable
couches and chairs known
to man.
The second floor was made
up of a balcony overlooking
the dance floor, and a bed
room with a rotating circular
bed and a discrete, but fully
functioning hot tub. There was
also a massage-table room
and two bathrooms, complete
with stand-up showers and
hot tubs. Just outside the bedroom hangs a blown up version of Mari
lyn Monroe’s original centerfold for Playboy magazine.
And did I mention there were Playboy bunnies running around?
That’s right, rented out this suite, complete with open bar,
music, professional dancers and Playboy bunnies.
The Story Name Goes Here

VIP Experience

VIP Experience
The music had a real ‘90s feel to it as partygoers
grooved the night away. The balcony was full of
people checking out the view. Partygoers took turns
trying out the rotating bed. Cameras were flashing
everywhere. And a few players even dropped their
pants and tested out the pool while wearing just their
And when everyone left at the end of the night PKR.
com was the big winner. Their players loved the party.
Their guests loved the party. And nobody could stop
talking about it as they exited the Palms.
Like the party, the UltimateBet event was a
highly sought after ticket. Studio 54 had shut down for
the big party, so it was invite-only to get in. Our friends at
Chipleader, the affiliate program for UltimateBet, helped
get Casino City access to the party. All we had to do is ask
for Pablo at the door and he would let us in.
And sure enough, Pablo let us in. Gary had beaten me
there by 30 minutes and had no problems finding
Pablo. But for me there was a dicey moment when
the bouncers appeared not to know Pablo. But as
he swung by and told them I was “OK,” the gates to
Studio 54 opened for me.
UltimateBet girls were waiting to greet guests as they
made their way inside the club. And more UltimateBet
girls were inside the club dancing and making people
feel at home.
The club itself looks like a post-industrial warehouse,
with a giant dance floor flanked by a bar. And the ceiling
looks like it is sky high. On either end of the dance floor
are metal staircases that lead up to a second floor that
rings the dance floor, allowing patrons to look down on
the dance floor. And it looked like there might be an
ultra-exclusive third floor.
UltimateBet pros Adam “Roothlus” Levy, Tiffany
Michelle, Annie Duke and Phil Hellmuth were all in
attendance, along with players who had won spots in
the World Series of Poker through UB. But as usual, it
was Hellmuth who stole the show.
Sitting in a ring that many dancers use as a prop,
Hellmuth was lowered from the ceiling until he
hovered above the dance floor. Hellmuth then
congratulated UltimateBet for its 10th anniversary,
conducted a raffle for a seat in the 2009 Aruba Poker
Classic and invited everyone in attendance to join him
for a rooftop party at his place in Aruba in October.
After Hellmuth’s star turn, real dancers and acrobats
took the stage, performing mid-air stunts that dazzled
the crowd. And in between acts, partygoers danced
the night away.
All in all, a good couple of nights in Las Vegas.
VIP Experience

Everest gets down
at the WSOP

by Rebecca Liggero
I’m not sure I can ever forget the Everest Poker
logo after my weekend at the WSOP. It was
everywhere! I spent about 30 minutes at the
actual WSOP, and I still saw the logo all over
Las Vegas. Most impressive was the projection
of the logo on the outside walls of PURE,
venue for the annual Everest Poker WSOP 4th
of July party. I’m not sure if I could ever ask for
a better relationship with a Platinum GPWA
sponsor, longtime Casino City advertiser and
former employer. The fine Everest Affiliates
team went out of their way to provide me,
and 20 other industry people I offered to
help, with last minute passes to their party
and entertained us for the seven hours that
we were there. The fine Everest Affiliates team
also went out of their way to host me at their
fancy WSOP hospitality suite, complete with
slick leather couches, refreshments, Twitter
updates, even more logos, and best of all, the
Nintendo Wii.
VIP Experience


September 2009
Sept 10-13
Budapest Affiliate
Conference (BAC)
Budapest, Hungary
Sept 15-17
EiG 2009
Bella Center
Copenhagen, Denmark
Sept 17
World Poker Congress
Bella Center
Copenhagen, Denmark
October 2009
Oct 20-23
Affilicon Europe
Estrel Hotel & Convention Center
Berlin, Germany
Oct 30-31
iGB España
Hotel Hesperia
Madrid, Spain
November 2009
Nov 17-19
G2E 2009
Las Vegas Convention Center
Las Vegas, Nevada
Nov 19-20
Affilicon Far East
Beijing, China
Sydney Affiliate
Conference (SAC)
Sydney, Australia
Nov 25-27
Scandinavian Affiliate
Super Summit
Berns, Salonger
Stockholm, Sweden
January 2010
Jan 17-19
Affiliate Summit West 2010
Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino
Las Vegas, Nevada
Jan 26-28
The Betting Show
Earls Court Exhibition Center
London, United Kingdom
Jan 28-31
London Affiliate
Conference (LAC)
Old Billingsgate
London, United Kingdom
February 2010
Feb 8-11
Affilicon India
Mumbai, India
March 2010
March 2-4
Asian i-Gaming
Congress and Expo
The Venetian Macao
Taipa, Macau
March 26-28
IPEx – International
Poker Exhibition
Expo XXI Hall
Cologne, Germany
CAC Amsterdam
NH Grand Krasnapolsky
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
iGB DownUnder
Sydney, Australia
April 2010
April 12-14
I-Gaming Forum
Grand Hotel
Stockholm, Sweden
May 2010
May 9-12
Affilicon Israel
Tel Aviv, Israel
Clip & Save
2009-2010 EVENT CAlENdAR
(For full details, visit

urprise! He’s back. Well,
technically, Calvin Ayre
never left “Bodog Land,”
but he is no longer an
online gambling operator,
that is for sure. In fact,
Calvin sold the “Bodog”
database and much of
the existing infrastructure to the Morris
Mohawk Gaming Group (MMGG),
something that many people are unaware
of. The only thing he kept was the Bodog
brand itself, which was then licensed back
to the MMGG for marketing purposes.
Even then, he had a plan for the brand
beyond online gaming...something that
should not surprise anyone who knows
Calvin even remotely.
It has become obvious to me over the past
few months, especially since Calvin took a
step back into the limelight, that no one has
a clue about what he has been up to over
the past few years. After spending a lot of
time with this clairvoyant industry icon in
Antigua, I am here to answer all your Calvin
questions in plain English rather than in
the scary legal and technical language that
you see in the iGaming publications. In
true Bodog fashion, Calvin Ayre’s journey
since the UIGEA has been a wild one, and
his plans for the future are even better, so I
hope you enjoy the ride.
However, before diving into the meat of
my findings – for those of you who just
want to know one thing and don’t care
about the rest – I’ll kindly provide the
Yes. He is still single.
Calvin retires...
from online gambling
Take it from me, Calvin Ayre is far
from being retired, but it is true that he
has zero interest in running an online
gambling company ever again. After the
U.S. government passed the UIGEA,
and the European public online gaming
companies pulled out of the U.S. market,
Calvin decided to sell the entire U.S.-
facing operation to Alywn Morris, CEO
of the MMGG. Calvin may have sold
the operation but he kept the famous
“Bodog” brand name, and licensed it
back to MMGG for their marketing
purposes. During the initial transition
period following the sale, Calvin served as
a Bodog brand ambassador for MMGG,
and when this transition period was over,
Calvin officially “retired” in May 2008.
Post retirement, Calvin retained an inter
est in the Antiguan brand licensing orga
nization,, which kept
all the rights to the trademark Bodog
brand. With Calvin’s help, this organization
worked to identify new businesses and
online gaming operators that could bring
the brand into Europe, Asia and beyond.

While it is true that Calvin has no di
rect involvement or contractual relation
Bodog shooting for the stars
ship with any licensee,
serving as a Bodog brand ambassador is
something he is willing to do for any new
licensee should the need arise. As Calvin
himself explains, “I am primarily focus
ing on branded venture capital or licens
ing and launching media ventures that
support the branded venture capital and
licensing operations.” Translation into
English: Calvin still retains at least a par
tial interest in the Bodog brand, he is still
involved with, they are
always looking for more licensing deals,
and he is working on two new media proj
ects, Bodog lifestyle digital content and, both of which comple
ment the Bodog brand. See? Simple. is reborn
Besides embarking on adventurous and
luxurious vacations around the world,
let’s take a closer look at what Calvin’s
been up to since May 2008, starting with From the beginning,
Calvin’s vision for the Bodog brand
has always remained the same: Bodog
will become a global, inclusive digital
entertainment and lifestyle brand, with
a structure and model similar to Richard
Branson’s Virgin brand. Although not
commonly known, was
born in 2005 and the first two licensees
were Bodog Music and Bodog Fight, both
of which succeeded in attracting millions
of viewers. At present, there
are three Bodog brand
licensees that are within
the online gaming space and is actively
evaluating non-gaming licensees.
As previously explained, the
first online gaming licensee
to strike a deal with Calvin
and the Bodog brand was
MMGG, a U.S.-facing business,
operating at The next
licensee was Bodog Europe, the
U.K. and future Canadian-facing
business, operating at
and The most recent is
Haydock Sports, an Asian-facing
business, operating at An
upcoming licensee is expected to be a
stand-alone Bodog-branded poker
network, operating at bodogpoker.
com, the details of which will be
announced this month. Other longer-
term plans include identifying
the right group to open up South
America to Bodog in addition to
signing on other licensees from
other non-gaming areas, both digital
and non-digital.
The absolute beauty and power of this
licensing model is that all the current
and potential licensees, both gaming and
non-gaming, can feed off the Bodog brand
strength and use it to their advantage.
Rather than compete against each other,
the individual success of each licensee
helps to lift the others, and as a direct
result, the Bodog brand continues to grow
exponentially. “I believe the Bodog brand
will be on many different products and
services,” Calvin claims. “The Bodog brand
is going to be massive when we’re done.”
Sunny Antigua, beautiful
home to Calvin Ayre
You would think that a person like Calvin
would choose to live in London, New
York, Paris, Hong Kong, Rome, Vegas,
Berlin, Moscow or I don’t know, maybe
even Ibiza. But Antigua? Why Antigua
since 2006? Actually, the answer is pretty
straightforward and makes perfect sense
when you think about it. “Before I stepped
down from my role in the online gambling
world, pre-2006 Bodog had is headquarters
and was licensed in Antigua, so naturally
I spent a great deal of time here,” Calvin
explains. To further prove his reasoning, is also headquartered in
Antigua, so it was almost essential for him
to remain on island to stay connected.

Another reason why Calvin chooses to reside
in Antigua is because his working relationship
with the Antiguan government has always been
extremely positive.
“Antigua has always been a pioneering and
amazingly forward-looking place when it comes
to online gaming – people don’t give them nearly
enough credit for that.” Cavlin says Antigua was
one of the first jurisdictions to license and regulate
online gaming, and after the ‘white listing’ by the
U.K. last November, Antigua-regulated licensees
are now entitled to advertise on a level playing
field in the U.K.” This “white listing” helps explain
why Keith McDonnell, Bodog Europe’s licensee,
chose to launch Bodog Europe under an Antiguan
license...and is yet another reason why Calvin likes
to remain on island. So they can drink rum punch
together, obviously.
In addition to respecting the government’s attitude
toward online gaming, Calvin simply loves the
relaxing, decompress lifestyle that comes along
with Antigua living. “The ultimate reason why I
maintain my primary residence in Antigua is the
lifestyle...who would not want to live on the beach
and be able to go out snorkeling and wakeboarding
every morning before logging on to the ‘Net? I am
from a part of Canada that is as cold as Siberia, so
for me this really is paradise. If I want a faster pace
or a good party, I can always charter a plane.”
Now, how can you argue with that? I certainly can’t
as I saw Calvin’s Antiguan lifestyle firsthand when
I went down for a visit. Always true to his word,
first full day in town, Calvin treated me to a ride
on his boat, a wakeboarding lesson, a snorkeling
adventure and several beers in the sun, all before
a fresh seafood lunch on the beach. The next day
Calvin treated me to a morning ride on the SubCat
Antigua, an actual submarine that dives through
the coral reefs of Antigua, all before a series of
afternoon strategy meetings. This is something
that anyone could get used to.

So what about the Antiguan nightlife? It’s not as
bad as you think...especially if you start drinking
wine at 4 p.m. on Calvin’s fully loaded ocean-view
deck. Anywhere and anything is fun when you start
boozing at 4! OK, fine – so maybe the nightlife is a
little quieter than what the online gambling world
is used to, but take it from me – if you’ve got the
right crew, you will have fun. However, I hate to
blow his cover, but each night I was in Antigua,
I stayed out way later than Calvin, the industry’s
notorious party animal. Don’t tell anyone, but
I think it’s because I am younger than he is...or
maybe it’s because he had just come from several
large nights in London with our very own Michael
Caselli. Hmm. Either way, I don’t care. I stayed
out later.
Bodog shooting for the stars
Bodog shooting for the stars

Bodog lifestyle and
Now that you know where Calvin lives, what
he has done since the UIGEA passed, and that
he has a retained interest in BodogBrand.
com, what is he doing right now and what
are his plans for the future? Very simply
stated, Calvin is now media, which in many
ways is exactly where he belongs. His first
media project involves Bodog lifestyle digital
content, a general Bodog lifestyle Web site that
will target a retail audience, mostly in Europe
and Asia. The second media project will be
located at, an upcoming
industry “tablog” (a tabloid blog – clever, isn’t
it?) which will also serve as Calvin’s personal
blog. This informational, user-friendly and
entertaining tablog will serve as a one-stop
shop for industry professionals, providing
features such as industry news, cool videos,
industry gossip, exotic babes, tales of Calvin’s
adventures, conference and event reporting,
“famous” recurring characters and lots, lots
The two media projects will work together
and dovetail with other areas of social media
online while helping to spread Bodog brand
awareness across the globe. Something I
have learned over the years is that there is
always a strategy behind everything Calvin
does – it all connects somehow, some way,
and these media projects are a perfect
example of just how he does it. To help get
these media projects off the ground and
introduced into the iGaming world, Calvin
decided he wanted a protégé...someone
who is well connected...someone who could
help spread his Bodog branding messages
across the landscape of the online gambling
industry and beyond...
Bodog Becky joins Bodog world
Surprise again! That protégé will be me. As
many of you already know, Calvin and I have
known each other since 2005 and I greatly
respect the work he has done throughout his
life and for the Bodog brand in particular.
My writing and demeanor at industry events
make it obvious that I have always had a great
fondness for the Bodog team in general and
for the Bodog Affiliates group in particular,
as we have worked together closely for years
and I love them. Therefore, it seemed only
natural to join forces with Calvin, an absolute
marketing, PR and branding guru, when he
offered me the opportunity to serve as Global
Brand Ambassador for
and as an on the site reporter for CalvinAyre.
com when it launches in 4th quarter 2009.
My friends, Bodog Becky has been born.
Bodog shooting for the stars
Bodog shooting for the stars

o further my ongoing Bodog
education, I was provided
with the opportunity to join
the li
censing group and Bodog
Europe executive team
in Antigua to learn more
about the Bodog brand’s
global expansion and affiliate system
plans. After hours of discussion, it be
came apparent that the bottom line and
ultimate goals are really pretty simple:
brand recognition and service across the
globe, presence throughout all channels,
and providing a spectacular experience
for every single customer including play
ers, affiliates and industry professionals.
So how are they going to do it? Keith Mc
Donnell can certainly tell you.
During my trip to Antigua, I found myself
gravitating toward Keith, a friendly, sharp,
nice-looking guy with a great accent. And
no, that’s not the rum punch talking.
I’m serious! With seven years of online
gambling experience prior to his licensing
the Bodog brand from
and taking the lead at Bodog Europe, Keith
came into his position equipped with a
vast understanding of the U.K. market,
a focus on affiliates, and how to facilitate
long-term revenue increases for affiliates.
It’s not a surprise that a personality like
this heads up the Bodog Europe business,
recently secured the rights to Canada, and
will soon be launching It is
also not a surprise that an American like
me mistook his Irish accent for English.
“Shame on you, Becky! I am Irish!” he
sarcastically scolded as we sailed back
from our SubCat Antigua submarine
dive along the coral reefs of Antigua
and Barbuda. Hey, at least I was close...
geographically speaking, of course.
Where were you born? What did you
study in school? How did you become
involved in the online gambling
I was born in Dublin, Ireland
and got a degree in business & legal
studies from University College, Dublin.
Having spent four years in the financial
services sector, I decided to seek out a
career within an industry that held a lot
of natural interest for me and sports and
gambling was a natural choice.

What was it about the Bodog brand
that attracted you to this opportunity?
Tell us how it all happened.
I had long
been an admirer of the Bodog brand, their
marketing and their exceptional customer
service. Having spent four successful and
enjoyable years at the U.K. Tote, I felt
it was time to start considering future
challenges. As soon as I became aware
that Bodog was looking for a European
licensee to take their brand into the U.K.
and beyond, the rest is history.
It is our understanding that the
Bodog brand is currently working on
a global expansion. Where are you
in this process? Who are your main
competitors in this marketplace?

Bodog Europe is one of a number of
Bodog brand licensees around the globe
– the Morris Mohawk Gaming Group
has the exclusive rights to the brand in
the U.S., and Haydock Entertainment
is the brand licensee in Asia. That’s just
the iGaming licensees. Bodog Europe’s
brand license agreement is limited,
territorially, to Europe and Canada.
Our goal is to make the Bodog brand a
IntERvIEw wIth
Managing Director, Bodog Europe
Bodog shooting for the stars
Bodog shooting for the stars

success story within these regions, with
Europe – and specifically the U.K. – being
a very sustained focus for us right now.
Currently, our main competitors fall into
two categories, what I call the “bricks .n.
mortar” brigade – Ladbrokes, William Hill,
etc. – and the “new breed” – Stan James,
bet365, Paddy Power. With gambling
being a major form of entertainment, I
don’t think it will be too long before we
add some mass-market entertainment
brands to the second category.
What are some of the main challenges
you have faced or expect to face in the
future as Bodog continues its global
I know the
licensing group has significant plans for
the brand, and many of the opportunities
I’m told are outside of the iGaming space.
From Bodog Europe’s iGaming perspec
tive, though, Europe is an extremely
competitive market and there are a lot of
inconsistencies from a regulatory stand
point from one EU member state to an
other, and those regulatory developments
are something we monitor very carefully.
From a market penetration point of view,
our challenge is clearly to establish a sol
id foothold in the markets we can serve
best, and then to continuously evaluate
key product areas and territories that we
feel will give us the most opportunities
while ensuring regulatory compliance.
However, with the crack team we’ve as
sembled, and the dynamic culture of the
Bodog Europe business, one of our com
petitive advantages is our capacity to react
extremely quickly to new opportunities as
they emerge.
What is your role within
How does it fit into the bigger Bodog
Brand picture?
I am Managing Director
of Bodog Europe and as such have ultimate
responsibility for the entire Bodog Europe
business. We’re currently operating Bodog. as our domain from which Europe is
serviced, though as we start to introduce
new languages or enter new markets we
expect additional sites under the Bodog
Europe umbrella. We will ensure the right
people get access to the right sites through
geo-IP location technology.
How do the iGaming brand licenses
help promote each other? What does
this mean for affiliates?
Of course, the
brand licensees all share a common asset
– the Bodog brand itself – and we’re
all required to adhere to certain brand
standards that promote and ensure a
consistent global brand. Also, all of the
brand licensees have acquired the right to
advertise as their portal
domain, which means that this is the URL
that is marketed and anyone, anywhere
on Earth, can type this into a browser and
be directed to the correct brand licensee
site, depending on their location. As one
of the brand licensees, what this means
is that any marketing done locally will
benefit other licensees if those activities
have potential for global exposure, either
through the Internet or international
How does this benefit affiliates? All of
the brand licensees have already agreed
that the objective will be to ensure that
an affiliate that develops a relationship
with any of the brand licensees will have
the opportunity to benefit from all brand
licensee affiliate programs. So, if I have
a relationship with Affiliate X in the
U.K., but she identifies a customer that
is, for example, in Haydock’s territory,
then that affiliate partner will have the
opportunity to be compensated under
Haydock’s program. The primary concern
is that customers get the Web site and
products that are most likely to appeal
to them. Once this happens, the affiliate
will be compensated based on the terms
associated with that Web site. Again, we
will ensure this happens through geo-
IP location technology although some
affiliates will be able to reinforce this by
also having their own geotargeted ad
Tell us more about the new geotargeting
system that Bodog is putting into
place. How will it work? How will it help
affiliates? How will it help players?
ultimate objective of the geotargeting is
ultimately about the customer experience,
and is designed to ensure that customers
find the product offering that is best
tailored to them, and find it with an
absolute minimum of effort. By tracking
the IP address from which customers
access the domain, we
will ensure they are directed to the most
appropriate brand licensee site. These
selection criteria are based on the sporting
interests of their country along with other
product synergies, as well as the brand
licensee territory restrictions (I couldn’t
take a customer from Asia, for example).
From an affiliate point of view, helping
customers find the site that offers exactly
what they’re looking for will inevitably
lead to higher conversion rates, improve
retention, and ultimately increase long-
term revenue, which in turn will result in
increased payment terms for them.
Make no mistake: everything – absolutely
everything – follows from a well-serviced
and delighted customer. This is our
fundamental, driving ethic and any of our
competitors that don’t believe this had
better step back because we’re about to
eat their lunch.
Bodog is the only brand that has a
presence across all channels. How
important is this to affiliates and
The simple fact is that Bodog is
the only truly global iGaming brand under
which poker, casino and sportsbetting
channels are offered. We also know the
benefit of cross-selling channels and using
specific channels to acquire certain types
of customers. This has been a core part
of the Bodog success story over the years
and is why Bodog is a market leader in its
appeal to affiliates.
Where are you located?
I’m based in
the U.K. but spend a lot of my time in
our European operation in Antigua, from
which the operation is actually managed.
From a business development perspective,
many of Bodog Europe’s partners are in
London and so I spend a lot of my time
there also. At this point there are no
plans to open an office in the U.K. as our
operation is headquartered in Antigua
– and it’s always very nice to grab a bit of
sun and sea while I’m out there.
The Bodog poker network has plans
to open up to non-Bodog branded
sites in the future. Can you tell us
more about these plans?

At this point,
the existing brand licensees have collec
tively identified a few key new features of
the existing poker offering that are really
going to take it to the next level, and we’re
aligned on a development path that’s ex
tremely exciting. We know for a fact that
our customers are going to be tremendously
pleased with these critical improvements.
We know that the licens
ing enterprise is also evaluating a poten
tial arrangement that would see the poker
technology evolve to the point where it was
network-ready, and both existing brand
licensees and third-party licensees would
be able to avail themselves of the network
and increase liquidity. There are some very
forward-thinking discussions happening
regarding ensuring the sanctity of licensee
databases, as well as rakeback, so I think
a Bodog-branded network of this kind
would see a great deal of interest very, very
quickly. There is still a great deal of work to
be done but I would anticipate quite a lot
of interest from the market should Bodog
elect to go the network route.
Bodog shooting for the stars
Bodog shooting for the stars

“Bodog’s objective will be to ensure that
an affiliate that develops a relationship
with any of the brand licensees will have
the opportunity to benefit from all brand
licensee affiliate programs.”
– Keith McDonnell

When will Bodog begin accepting
Canadian players and under which
licensee? What will be your involve
ment with this process?
Canadian play
ers will be able to access a Canada-specific
product suite from start
ing in the fall of this year. I aggressively
renegotiated the Bodog Europe brand li
cense agreement to acquire the rights to
the Canadian market earlier this year and
I would expect the Canadian market – ex
tremely technologically literate, sports
lovers and a very significant poker base
– to be a huge success story in 2009 and
2010. The products will be offered pursu
ant to the Antiguan gaming licenses.
There are quite a few big iGaming
conferences coming up. What kind
of presence will Bodog Europe have
at such events?
We will be looking to
attend all major conferences to spread
the word about Bodog Europe’s exciting
future developments. I’ll personally be
speaking this September at both the
affiliate conference in Budapest, where
I’ll be joined by members of our affiliate
team, and EiG in Copenhagen.
“Work hard, play hard” is a famous
Bodog slogan. How do you work hard
and play hard?
It’s a famous slogan,
but never has it been more true. Those
who are successful at Bodog manage to
combine the two very effectively. Quite
often the divide is blurred, quite literally,
but in some ways that’s what makes it so
special. You never quite switch off from
business but you never quite switch off
from having fun. It’s certainly a unique
factor to the Bodog experience and one
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed since joining the
brand licensee family.
Tell us about your experiences in
Antigua, home of the U.k. licensee
headquarters. What is the office like?
What do you do for fun? What is the
nightlife like? Is it really as quiet as
we hear?
Antigua really is spectacular.
Tell me another office location where
you can get up early in the morning, go
wakeboarding, snorkeling and submarine
diving, all before having a healthy beach
breakfast and being in the office by 9am?
The nightlife is great, and there are plenty
of beach bars and clubs to enjoy the local
rum cocktails in, but for me Antigua is
all about the beach and sea life and those
early sunny mornings.
We’ve heard rumors that you are a fan
tastic wakeboarder. Are these rumors
true? Can you walk us thorough your
very first wakeboarding experience?
Ha comment. Let’s just say since
my first “effort” I’ve been practicing at
home on an ironing board lying flat on the
ground. I can just about balance on that
now, so will give the real thing another go
very soon.

Bodog shooting for the stars
IntervIew wIth


CEO, Morris Mohawk Gaming Group
was recently given the
opportunity to spend a
day in Kahnawake with
Bodog’s U.S.-facing brand
licensee, the Morris Mo
hawk Gaming Group, and
to complete the very first
interview of Alwyn Mor
ris, the full-blooded Mohawk CEO and
fearless leader of the group. Morris often
refers to himself as “conservative” and
strikes me as a friendly, family man who
is very active in the Mohawk community
and who welcomes the challenge of build
ing the U.S.-facing Bodog brand so it be
comes stronger than ever. While both Al
wyn and Calvin are extremely intelligent,
personable and excellent public speakers,
their public styles are unique. “Calvin was
the flamboyant one,” Alwyn says. “I will
not become the face of in the
way that Calvin did – I’m not sure anyone
could. I have enormous respect for what
the original Bodog group accomplished,
but my style is certainly more reserved.”
Conservative as he may appear, Alwyn
certainly possesses those fun Bodog quali
ties that we all know and love. I saw this
side of Alywn firsthand in Montreal, and
I have heard about his experiences with
the original Bodog team in Costa Rica. I
believe the phrases “cruising around town
in the Hummer,” “enjoying a cocktail at
a ‘very special’ local watering hole,” and
“cooking late-night food at the Bodog
Compound with the housekeeper” may
have slipped out several times during our
interview, but you are not allowed to know
that. I was told to keep it off the record.
Most people don’t know that you’ve
won two Olympic medals, including
gold in Los Angeles in 1984. What
events did you compete in? Do you
still remember those races down
to the exact detail?
I was a sprint
canoer, or what is sometimes referred
to as a “flatwater racer.” During the Los
Angeles Olympics in 1984, I competed
in what are called “K-2” events, which
essentially means a double-seated kayak.
In competition, despite the fact we are
referred to as “canoers” or sometimes
“canoeists,” the K-2 boat differs from
actual canoes as they are closed-deck boats
with a spraydeck. We took home the gold
medal in the K-2 1,000-meter event, and
a bronze in the K-2 500-meter event. The
time and energy I dedicated to training
and competing in the Olympics easily
carried over into my career in government,
business and as an aboriginal ambassador.
I knew that with enough hard work and
dedication I could achieve nearly anything
I set my mind to, and that philosophy has
stuck with me to this day.
you are also a member of the Order
of Canada. For those who don’t know,
what is the Order of Canada? Why
were you made a member?
The Order
of Canada is the highest civilian order
that is bestowed in Canada. I’ve been
told that it’s approximately equivalent to
the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom.
It was an incredibly humbling honor for
me as a Canadian, because the Order of
Canada recipients include people like
Marshall McLuhan, Pierre Trudeau and
Bora Laskin.
I was awarded the Order of Canada for my
work with aboriginal youth in the field of
alcohol and drug abuse. Alcohol and drug
abuse has always been a concern in the
aboriginal community and I wanted to use
my newly found status as an aboriginal
ambassador to give back to my community
while also raising awareness of the dangers
of drug and alcohol abuse in youth.
To even be considered for the Order,
which is commonly granted to geniuses,
Prime Ministers, and Supreme Court Chief
Justices, was an overwhelming privilege
– it’s difficult to describe.
How did you get into canoeing?

canoe club opened and I along with many
of my friends went to the club to see what
the sport was all about. After some trial
and error and some unplanned swimming,
I decided that it was a fun sport and
became hooked.
Following your competitive career, what
prompted you to become involved in
the online gambling industry?
I was
a principal advisor to the Chief and Mo
hawk Council for approximately 12 years
and I was looking for a change in career
and wanted to be close to home. I was
involved in the discussions between the
Council and the Government of Quebec
regarding the online Regulatory Com
mission and online gaming.
I was principal advisor to some of
Kahnawake’s most important government
and third-party negotiations, including
those relating to online gaming. I followed
the development of Mohawk Internet
Technologies and how Kahnawake was
benefiting from the industry. I wanted to
continue to help the community and its
evolving economic stability. Establishing
a business platform for online gaming
became a natural fit for me to accomplish
my goals and as a new career when I was
introduced to Calvin. The rest is history.

When and how did you meet Calvin
Ayre? How long was it from your first
meeting with him to when you knew
you wanted to license the Bodog
name, to when the deal was actually
We were introduced in Montreal
by a mutual friend. I was interested in the
online gaming industry as it has become
a powerful economic engine for our
indigenous self-governing jurisdiction of
Kahnawake. Meeting Calvin for the first
time was a great pleasure.
I was well aware of his work as founder
of Bodog and immediately developed
a great deal of respect for him as a very
intelligent businessman. It took a few
months in late 2006, early 2007 to put the
deal together, but it wasn’t long after that
before the business had been smoothly
and successfully transitioned.
What was it about the Bodog brand
that you found so attractive? Were
you ever tempted to build your own

Bodog shooting for the stars
Bodog shooting for the stars
“We’re already seeing a significant uptake
in search value for, and while it’s
difficult to quantify, the impact that this has had
on staff morale has been pretty remarkable.
And affiliates have been calling every day.”

– Alwyn Morris
brand? Or did you know for
certain that licensing the
Bodog brand was clearly
the way to go?
I was abso
lutely considering develop
ing a stand-alone brand. But,
while I was confident that the
Group could deliver technical
ly and from a customer service
point of view, building a brand
from zero is both a time-con
suming and – if you’re going to
really do it right – an insanely
expensive proposition. Calvin
and his team at the time had
done such a powerful job of de
fining and embodying Bodog’s
brand values – this irrever
ent, rogue-like, entertainment
brand – that the opportunity
to license that kind of aware
ness was, essentially, a once in
a lifetime opportunity.
It didn’t take me long to make
the decision.
The Bodog brand touches
so many different spaces
– online casinos, online
poker, music, mixed martial
arts – what is MMGG’s role
in all of these operations?
To be clear – our brand license
agreement only gives us access
to the brand for online gaming,
and only in our territory. We
don’t have anything to do with
the deals to license the brand
for Bodog Fight or Bodog Music or any of
the other things they’re working on. So,
online gaming is all we do.
We manage the product development,
maintain the infrastructure, run customer
service, marketing, and so on. We get
access to some suppliers that service
Bodog Europe as well that will, I assume,
also service Bodog Asia, but we’re running
the operation and ultimately supplier
selection is our decision to make, subject
to certain limited restrictions in our
brand license deal. I suppose the simplest
way to think about it is as a kind of
franchise. In the same way most fast-food
franchises are individually owned and
run businesses, each with their own staff,
costs, management, etc., they all license
the company brand from the franchisor,
and they pay for the privilege. Of course,
corporate makes sure that the brand is
treated consistently by all its franchisees,
so that a franchise in Moscow will deliver
an experience consistent with the one
in Minnesota, and the franchisees have
to adhere to these rules when they sign
on. The franchisees also get access to
company suppliers. On a different scale,
that’s exactly what is happening here
– the MMGG is the equivalent of the local
company management, and “Bodog” the
licensing group is the equivalent of the
franchisor. We hold the exclusive “Bodog”
franchise for this market, Bodog Europe
owns it for their market, and the Haydock
group will own it for Asia.

you recently regained the
domain. What impact will this have
on MMGG’s business plans?
Just to be
precise, it wasn’t really a “re-acquisition,”
because the MMGG never owned these
domains. We originally had access to the
domains under the terms of the brand
license agreement as one of the elements
that we licensed. We do own them now,
Beyond the migration of the
site from
to, I’m not
sure the acquisition of the do
mains will have a concrete im
pact on the product offerings
per se. However, it will signifi
cantly impact marketing strat
egy and it has, as you point
out, changed the way the oth
er brand licensees will market
and interact with one another.
Though our businesses are
all separate and our licensing
agreements essentially limit
each licensee’s branded busi
ness to specific territories, the
world – particularly for digital
companies – is a very small
and connected place.

So, what we have agreed to with
Bodog and with the European
and Asian gaming brand
licensees is that will
be redirected to the appropriate
licensee Web site depending
on where the visitor is located.
The geolocation technology to
do this reliably is now quite
excellent. The benefit of this,
of course, is that every brand
licensee can now advertise
the same domain name, so
marketing or adverting that
“spills over” from one licensee’s