Nevada Gaming Control Board agent part of a sting operation on Bitcoin-denominated enterprise
The prosecution on an illegal gambling charge of former Seal With Clubs owner Bryan Micon (36) (see previous InfoPowa report) was discussed in detail at a press conference Wednesday held by Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt.
Flanked by A.G. Burnett, chairman of the Nevada State Gaming Control Board, and Tony Alamo, chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission, the AG revealed that a special agent of the Board infiltrated the Bitcoin-denominated online poker operation to gather evidence for the investigation, leading to the issue of an arrest warrant.
Micon has since relocated to Antigua, where he continues to maintain he is innocent of any wrongdoing.
Laxalt said that the prosecution was notable for two reasons; it is the first online poker prosecution launched by a state, and it is the first enforcement move against a site using the Bitcoin virtual currency.
Micon has been charged with operating Seals With Clubs between March 1 2014 and February 9 2015 "without first procuring and thereafter maintaining in effect the required licenses."
Laxalt revealed that the Micon enterprise came to notice in August 2013 when a Belgian online punter laid a complaint with the Nevada Gaming Control Board.
During the sting investigation Micon is alleged to have claimed in Skype conversations that SWC earned $10,000 to $12,000 profit each month.
Undercover agent Ricardo Lopez created an account on the SWC site in early February 2014 and used the digital currency to start playing poker. SWC took a rake of the pot from his hands on two separate dates on which he played a total of 30 hands of online poker
Lopez additionally carried out surveillance on Micon's home, and collected evidence and information by monitoring his social media accounts.
Micon identified himself as the "chairman" of Seals with Clubs, and on Youtube videos gave advice on how to use Bitcoin on his online poker site. He was also prominently featured in the website narrative.
Once investigators had assembled sufficient evidence, a Nevada Gaming Control Commission raid was mounted on Micon's Las Vegas home on February 11 this year (see previous InfoPowa reports).
Agents found Micon logged on to SWC and busy editing one of its webpages.
The website was shuttered after the operation, and Micon flew off to Antigua the next day, where he launched and made posts about a new Bitcoin-denominated online poker site titled SWCPoker.eu.
Earlier this week, Micon took to Twitter to again protest his innocence and appeal for donations to enable him to fight the Nevada prosecution. His gofundme.com site seeks to raise $10,000, and has reportedly already raised $1,000.
Micon's US-based legal representative said Thursday that a court date has yet to be set, and reiterated his client's claim of innocence.
Online Casino News Courtesy of Infopowa