7 Facts You Didn't Know about Bovada

Bovada was created in 2011, when the famous Bodog brand transferred their American customers to the Bovada.lv site.

Unlike the Bodog brand, which exited the US market after this move, Bovada serves Americans and has become one of the top US friendly gaming sites.

But despite Bovada's popularity, there are some interesting facts about the company that you might not have known.

Keep reading as I discuss 7 of these facts below:

1. Bovada Doesn't Operate in 6 US States

Although Bovada serves most of the American market, they do stay out of a few states for legal reasons.

Given that Delaware, New Jersey, and Nevada all have regulated online gaming markets, Bovada doesn't operate in any of these three states.

Washington has arguably the toughest online gaming laws outside of the three regulated markets, so Bovada stays out of the Evergreen State too.

New York is getting more and more serious about their iGaming legislation to clear way for their own regulated market. Unlike the daily fantasy sports sites FanDuel and DraftKings, which are locked in legal battles with New York, Bovada wisely exited the Empire State.

Maryland is one more place that Bovada doesn't operate in because the Terrapin State has harsh anti online gambling laws.

Everything about online gambling and the laws in the US is subject to change at a moment's notice. I'm sure Bovada and every other online gambling site wishes the US would legalize online gambling so they could pay taxes and work out in the open.

2. Bovada is Owned by the Morris Mohawk Gaming Group

Some people mistakenly think that Bovada is owned by Calvin Ayre, the online gaming billionaire / pioneer who's flaunted his lavish lifestyle while evading US authorities.

But the reality is that Bovada is actually owned by the Morris Mohawk Gaming Group (MMGG), which is located in the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake, Canada.

After the US passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, or UIGEA, in 2006 and issued heavy fines against Party Poker's owners, Ayre pulled out of the US market and began licensing the Bodog.com domain to the MMGG.

This was a smart move because the Mohawk Territory is a sovereign nation and more protected from US legislation like the UIGEA.

But the MMGG dealt with its own legal problems when 1st Technology claimed that the tribe was violating their patent by using the Bodog name.

The MMGG group eventually resolved the dispute and continued using Bodog.com for their US friendly operation.

After Black Friday, where the US Department of Justice, or DoJ, indicted PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, UltimateBet, and Absolute Poker for fraud and money laundering, the MMGG let their licensing agreement with Bodog to expire. This is when they transferred their American customers to Bovada.

Many believe that Ayre is still the one pulling all of the strings, and it may be true, but if he is he's done a masterful job of covering his tracks. Of course the man is an excellent businessman so it's possible he's working behind the scenes.

3. Bovada's Owner is a 2 Time Olympic Medalist

Before launching the MMGG and becoming its CEO, Alwyn Morris competed as a sprint kayaker for Canada in the Olympics.

In the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics, Morris won gold in the K 2 1000 m event and earned a bronze medal in the K 2 500 m event. He also competed at the ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships, winning silver in the 1982 K 2 1000 m and a bronze medal in the 1983 K 2 500 m event.

In 2006, Morris, a member of the Mohawk tribe, founded the MMGG. He used the licensing agreement with Bodog to help the group experience fast success in the US online gaming market.

Since 2013, Morris has been less active in his role with the MMGG, instead spending his time consulting with companies as they enter the regulated US iGaming market.

4. Bodog Still Maintains an Influence on Bovada's Operation

Although they are technically separate, Bovada has retained some of the same branding, images and promotions that made Bodog a success.

This is especially apparent through their online poker operation because Bovada is listed under the Bodog network.

Visiting Bovada Poker, you can see that they use pictures of young men and women playing poker in an elegant party atmosphere. Ayre did the same thing with the Bodog brand, fashioning himself into a playboy surrounded by models, alcohol, and tropical scenery.

This has led some to speculate that Ayre might have some degree of control in the MMGG / Bovada operation too. But these are only rumors and have never been proven.

What's clear, though, is that elements of Bodog still exist in Bovada.

5. Bovada was the First Poker Site to Feature Anonymous Tables

Along with Bodog, Bovada was the first online poker site to feature anonymous tables, which hide your screen name from opponents.

This is important to recreational players because skilled poker pros can target amateurs through the use of Heads Up Display or HUD, software. Advanced HUDs give pros detailed stats on opponents whom they've never even seen.

This is bad news if you're an unknowing recreational player who's just looking to have fun. But anonymous tables protect your identity so that the only information a pro gains is the hands they see you play.

Thanks to their anonymous tables and other recreational friendly tools, Bovada is one of the best online poker rooms for amateurs.

6. Bovada is Part of the World's Third Biggest Online Poker Network

As mentioned before, Bovada is listed under the Bodog online poker network, which has risen to become the third largest in the world.

Bodog Poker has experienced a rapid rise over the last few years. Once not even cracking the top 10, the Bodog network began rising up the ladder in 2015.

According to PokerScout.com, they now rank as the third biggest network with an average 1,400 cash game players every hour.

The distinction between how much traffic Bodog and Bovada contribute to this number individually is not made. But we can be sure that Bovada contributes a significant amount given how they're one of the few sites that still serves American players.

The number of players for an online poker network is important because if they don't have many players it can be hard to find the games you want to play. You don't have problems finding plenty of games at Bovada.

7. Bovada Isn't Illegal in the US

Some believe that Bovada is illegally operating in the US, and the DoJ just hasn't cracked down on them yet.

But outside some of the states we discussed above, there's no federal law that makes online gambling illegal. The UIGEA is the biggest piece of anti-online gambling legislation, but this only prohibits banks from knowingly accepting iGaming transactions.

The reason why PokerStars, Full Tilt, UltimateBet, and Absolute Poker were busted is because they used deceptive means to circumvent the UIGEA and still accept player wagers. One example involved Full Tilt disguising player deposits as golf equipment sales.

It's unknown whether the MMGG did the same with Bodog.com prior to Black Friday. But it's very unlikely that they've done anything illegal with Bovada since this site was conceived after Black Friday.

Conclusion

Despite its short history, Bovada has already made an impact in the US market. They're attached to one of the world's largest poker networks and they also have a popular online sports book and casino.

With more states trying to regulate their iGaming markets, Bovada will be forced to move out of more states in the future, causing their brand to lose some size.

But considering that only three states have regulated online gambling since 2013, we should see Bovada remain prominent for at least several more years.