It had been eleven months since the Bovada Poker Twitter account was active, and then suddenly on August 22:
WE'RE BACK! ????????????
— BovadaPoker (@BovadaPoker) August 22, 2017
With that, online poker‘s biggest scofflaw was back in business.
From Bodog to Bovada
Primarily a sports betting, online poker and online gambling website, Bodog was initially founded by Calvin Ayre in 2000. In 2006, the United States passed the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act. Bodog was then sold to the Morris Mohawk Gaming Group based on Native land in Kanhawake, Quebec, Canada.
This was the beginning of some kind of shell game attempting to shield Bodog and its executives from prosecution in the United States. The next step was when the US face of the online poker site became Bovada Poker in late 2011. At the time, Morris Mohawk Gaming Group claimed its licensing agreement with Bodog had expired.
Bovada continued to accept US customers and allow them to play on the same Bodog Poker Network. The site also accepted sports bets from inside the US, despite even more clearly defined laws against that activity.
From Bovada to Ignition
Then, in August 2016, Bovada sold its online poker business to Ignition Casino, an online gambling site owned by Lynton Limited and regulated by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. Players were asked to transfer their accounts over to the Ignition Poker site by September 30, 2016, after which Bovada Poker would shut its virtual doors.
Just days before the switchover was complete, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement announced that it had reached an understanding with The Kahnawake Gaming Commission to ensure it would no longer allow its online gambling licensees to serve customers in the US. Ignition took this to mean it could not accept customers from states where online gambling had been regulated, including only New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware.
Ignition offered transferring players a welcome bonus at the time. However, outside of that, the only real difference between the sites was branding. Ignition Casino had acquired ownership and proprietary rights to Bovada’s poker business and ran what was basically the same software on the same Bodog Poker network, which has since become known as the Pai Wang Luo Poker Network.
Despite being unregulated in the country, Ignition accepted US players much the same way Bovada did. Bovada continued to run its casino, sports betting and horse race wagering business, accepting bets from within the US. The online gambling operators just shut out players from New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware.
Bovada comes back
Then suddenly, a little less than a year later, with last week’s Tweet, Bovada brought poker back.
The Bovada Sports Book website also ran a story entitled Poker Is Back at Bovada on August 22.
The post outlines how a full suite of Bovada Poker offerings was being brought back in response to customer requests and invited players to download the Bovada Poker Client to get started.
It also said the Bovada Poker software was pretty much the same as it was a year ago with the addition of new Quick Seat feature. Bovada also announced it was offering a 100% first-deposit match up to $500 for new players.
The new Bovada Poker will reportedly accept players from US states outside of New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware, which regulate online gambling, and Maryland. Maryland recently dropped illegal gambling and money laundering charges against Ayre.
Bovada Poker will also reportedly accept customers from eight Latin American countries, including:
Plus, it will operate on the Pai Wang Luo Poker Network sharing player pools with Ignition and Bodog.