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A Lot of Hot Ayre: Vancouver Sun Reporter Loses Slander Suit Days Before Slamming Bodog

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Mar/24/2011
Bodog Calvin Ayre David Baines

Following a scathing report on the Internet gambling company Bodog.com and its founder Calvin Ayre in the Vancouver Sun, Ayre has gone on the offensive against writer David Baines.

The Sun reporter ripped into Bodog.com, calling the firm a “rogue” operation while accusing Ayre staffers of misinterpreting his past columns on everything from legalizing Web gambling to supporting a government run online lottery/gambling business to Mixed Martial Arts.

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 www.calvinayre.com

Baines answers accusations lodged against him by Bodog.com staffers who claim he changed his critical views on Mixed Martial Arts following Bodog Fight (a former MMA arm of Ayre’s company) providing Baines and his son with free tickets to an event. 

Baines insists he offered to pay the fee and ultimately donated the amount of the ticket to Calvin Ayre’s wildlife foundation (We at Gambling911.com had no idea he had one of those).  He claims to have never exhibited any resentment towards the sport.

A Bodog staffer wrote in a previous column at CalvinAyre.com:

Baines insists he is not necessarily against banning Internet gambling but would rather see the industry regulated. 

The Sun reporter insists he is not against legalizing online gambling in Canada but instead wants to ensure the industry is regulated.

Ayre responded to Baines’ Wednesday column with one of his own appearing at the CalvinAyre.com website, which implies that the Sun reporter is “obsessed with him”.

Steven Stradbrooke, who is referenced in Baines Wednesday column, writes: 

Everyone here at CalvinAyre.com broke into knowing grins when we heard that Vancouver tabloid hack David Baines had penned his latest anti-fan letter to this website’s namesake. You see, it’s common knowledge amongst the staff that Baines is somewhat obsessed with Calvin Ayre and has been for years. As such, we’ve felt it was our responsibility to challenge David now and then on some of his beliefs — and some of his make-believes — regarding Calvin, Bodogand the online gambling industry. However, Baines’ latest epistle marked the point where harmless hater becomes unhinged stalker, so we feel we need to let David know, in as gentle a manner as possible, that he’s no longer ‘ha ha’ funny.

In a brief interview with Bodog’s founder, Ayre tells Gambling911.com that Baines wrote the scathing piece just days after loosing a slander lawsuit.

“Baines just lost a lawsuit for slander days before he again published fiction about me,” Ayre noted. 

Ayre would indeed be correct in his assertion.

Former Senator Ed Lawson this week was awarded a $30,000 libel lawsuit against Baines and Canwest Publishing.

Lawson sued over a column published in the Vancouver newspaper in March 2008, where Baines wrote about Lawson's involvement in events that happened in the 1980s.

The Senator wanted both general and aggravated damages, claiming Baines made his accusations with malice.

The judge found that Baines had not acted recklessly, however. 

The judge concluded he didn't believe the column had a profound impact on Lawson's life or on his standing in the community.

That judgment is nothing compared to what Baines won back in 2008 for defamation against him.

In Hodgson v Canadian Newspapers Co., a British Columbia judge in favour of journalist Baines for libels contained in several business newsletters and a press release, and for slander uttered at a business seminar. Southam Inc. v Chelekis, [1998] BCJ no. 848. The various general damages awards to Baines totaled $675,000; aggravated damages were$100,000, and punitive damages were $100,000. One unique feature of this case was the Internet component. The verdict for general damages included $250,000 concerning an electronic newsletter disseminated by e-mail to major business reports, including Bloomberg (which was not a defendant). An appeal is pending to the British Columbia Court of Appeal.

Ayre and his crew seem to believe Baines is looking for Bodog to engage in similar defamation against him.

From the CalvinAyre.com site:

Baines chose to double-down on his attacks on Calvin just a few days later. We’re tempted to believe that Baines is hoping to get us to respond in kind, i.e. using half-truths and innuendo to besmirch his name, in the hope that Baines could then sue us for libel and maybe make good some of his losses. If so, sorry, Dave. Better you should deposit what’s left of your paycheck into PlayNow.com and try your luck at the slots.

- Christopher Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher

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