Former online Bitcoin poker site “Seals with Clubs” operator and professional Las Vegas gambler, 37 year old Bryan Micon has been fined and placed on probation by a Nevada judge this Tuesday.
Clark County District Court Judge Kerry Earley gave Micon this sentence after he was proven guilty to a criminal charge of illegal gambling. The judgement, which also entailed Micon to surrender some of his possessions held by the police, came after a deal Micon made with Nevada prosecutors in summer.
In February, the authorities raided Micon’s Nevada residence and seized 3.0996 in bitcoin credits, $900 in cash and more than six computers. This was followed in April by his being formally charged for the operation of an unlicensed interactive gaming system. Micon shut down sealswithclubs.eu within a few days of the raid after letting players refund their bitcoin balances; and escaped to Antigua, the Caribbean island nation, taking his family with him. There he established a new poker site, SwCPoker.eu. Micon ceded to get back to the US for the trial on June.
Micon’s felony charge will be lessened to a misdemeanor if he can finish his probation with success. He did not say much to Judge Early other than accepting the possibility of as much as two and a half years in state prison in case he violates the terms of his probation.
Bitcoin Poker Case is a Result of Lack of Regulations Related to Bitcoin Transactions
Richard Schonfeld, Micon’s defence attorney, let the judge know that Micon would work for a remote-controlled drone device manufacturing company while serving out his probation in Nevada. Aftwerwards, Micon would shift with his family to Antigua permanently, where he will work in the technology office of a newspaper. Richard’s team successfully got illegal betting charges against Malaysian businessman Paul Phua dismissed this summer.
Since the state of Nevada initiated its regulated online poker market in April 2013, Micon has been the first one to be sued for an illegal internet gambling operation, according to Nevada gambling regulators and Attorney General Adam Laxalt. Not only that, this was also the first US state-level prosecution of an online gambling site of Bitcoin Poker, as Bitcoin currency lets internet transactions happen without banks easing the way for money laundering and illegal drug sales. Nevada is planning to keep its top position in terms of casino regulation, said Laxalt.
According to Associated Press, after a federal crackdown on online gambling in 2011, the US Justice Department legalized online gambling except sports betting depending on the permission of the specific state. While Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware have already allowed players logged in within their state lines, some other states are still pondering over permission of online games.