Bodog Fight: Vancouver Sun Reporter Attacks, Calls Online Gambling Firm “Rogue”

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:

Vancouver Sun reporter David Baines went on the offensive against one of his favorite targets in recent years, online gambling company  

While Baines has expressed to us in the past his apprehension with legalizing Web gambling, a portion of his Wednesday diatribe deals with Bodog’s one time Mixed Martial Arts arm, Bodog Fight.  Baines is alleged to have reportedly critically on the sport in the past, something he flatly denies in his Wednesday column. 

Baines writes

During the past year, staff writers at Internet gambling firm Bodog have taken several runs at me. I assume these attacks are approved by the big pooch himself, Calvin Ayre, because they are published and archived on Ayre’s website

Specifically he points to articles regarding his apparent “change of heart” in regard to the MMA after attending a Bodog Fight event with his son.  It is suggested that Bodog paid for both their entry fee, which they did, but Baines insists he offered to pay the fee and ultimately donated the amount of the ticket to Calvin Ayre’s wildlife foundation (We at had no idea he had one of those). 

Staff writer Dan Taylor started the attack on April 5, 2010, when he suggested I had changed my tune about mixed martial arts fighting after my son and I attended a Bodog-sponsored MMA event, courtesy of Bodog.

“Poor old Vancouver tabloid reporter David Baines … has doubtless been spending the Easter weekend trawling the Internet to erase all those crap articles railing against the evils of MMA he published back in 2006,” he wrote.

Baines was quick to point out that the Vancouver Sun is not a “tabloid” but rather a “broadsheet newspaper”.  He suggested the author would have been more accurate referencing him as a “broadsheet hack”. 

The Vancouver Sun reporter references more railing against him from another Bodog staffer.

“These are the sort of numbers that bring to mind the good work of Vancouver Sun tabloid reporter David Baines, who spent years trying to send online gaming companies packing from Canada to the huge detriment of the Canadian economy.”

He concluded: “This study just highlights what everyone already knows … that tabloid boy Baines knows sweet FA about business, tax bases or international trade.”

Baines insists he is not necessarily against banning Internet gambling but would rather see the industry regulated.  Baines defended his stance on regulating online gambling in a column written some years ago.

“There is much to be said for shifting gamblers from unregulated to regulated gambling websites, where games and payouts are monitored, taxes are collected (in the case of private companies), and proceeds remitted to the public treasury (in the case of government-run sites).

In a followup column on Sept. 26, 2009, I specifically welcomed the U.S. initiative and suggested that Canada follow suit:

“It’s time that Canadian politicians accepted the reality of the situation and developed similar legislation to gain control over this outlaw industry and capture whatever benefits it can provide.”

Baines claims in his piece that Bodog’s jabs at him are a result of his referring to that establishment as an “outlaw operation”. 

He writes: 

Bodog boasts that it is licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission in Quebec, but this is a long-standing joke. Since the Oka crisis more than 20 years ago, Kahnawake effectively operates as a rogue nation, without interference from, or reference to, federal or provincial authorities.

The Vancouver Sun reporter references nearly every reference ever made against him by Bodog staffers, answering each of the accusations including the notion that he supported the B.C. Lottery Corp’s move online, leaving out mention of their highly publicized security glitches.

This diatribe was prompted by my support of B.C. Lottery Corp.’s move into online gambling, not because I like online gambling, but because it would take business away from rogue operators like Bodog. The BCLC site had a rocky debut which provided much fodder for anti-gambling advocates, but proved to be a short-lived technical problem.

I did not comment on this glitch, but if I had, I would have cited the public furore as an example of the accountability demanded of government-regulated gambling institutions, as opposed to the opaqueness of pseudo-regulated operators like Bodog.

Baines then goes onto discuss the various improprieties he says Ayre had some role in, everything from drug trafficking to stock swindling.   Ayre is quick to note that he has never been charged in connection with any drug trafficking operation and clarified, in regard to the stock exchange allegations, that he entered into a voluntary settlement agreement with the BC Securities Commission for failing to file necessary reports and authorizing the issuance of shares prior to filing a prospectus.

Baines goes on to state that he has not written about Bodog in over a year-and-a-half, yet company staffers continue to be critical of him. 

I sincerely hope that U.S. and Canadian authorities legalize online gambling, then Ayre and his fawning wannabes would most likely have to take their road show far, far away.

As we say in Russia, dasvidania comrade. can confirm that David Baines has not yet received an invite to Ayre’s 50th birthday party in Dublin, Ireland (though we wouldn’t put it past Calvin to send him one). 

As of press time Noon Eastern Standard Time, the website had not yet responded to the Vancouver Sun column, though we trust this will happen in the next few hours. 

- Christopher Costigan, Publisher has been serving the gambling community with news around the clock since September 2000.

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