Canadian-born Calvin Ayre, a gambling and cryptocurrency multi-millionaire, is using bitcoin to develop a $100m five-star resort on the Caribbean island of Antigua.
Ayre, 56, once on the run from US authorities, has been appointed Antigua and Barbuda’s special economic envoy, and has begun developing an upmarket tourist resort on Antigua’s Valley Church beach.
What The Resort Means for Antigua and Barbuda
Ayre said of the new resort, “This resort will attract a totally new market segment of tourism on the island — successful wellness-seekers who also want to have fun. The property will not be an all-inclusive destination. Instead, its amenities will be available to residents of Antigua and Barbuda and visitors alike.”
Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister, Gaston Browne, said, “We expect the resort’s novel and exciting concept to broaden Antigua and Barbuda’s tourism product and bring a new category of tourists to our islands. We look forward to working with Mr Ayre on this resort and the many other investments he has made in Antigua.”
Ayre says that the new resort will accept Bitcoin Cash at point of sale terminals on the property and through its online booking system.
Who Is Calvin Ayre?
Antigua and Barbuda has given Ayre the official title of “His Excellency.” Prior to his involvement in development on Antigua, has a colorful past. Ayre’s father, a pig farmer, was once convicted of smuggling marijuana. Ayre was involved in a share-trading scandal in the 1990s and was subsequently barred from acting as a director of a public company in the province of British Columbia. Ayer went on to create Bodog, an online gambling brand, which led to appearances as a judge for televised lingerie contests during the Super Bowl, and in a dramatic display of narcissism, Ayre bought 3,000 copies of a Playboy Magazine issue where he was featured in a six-page profile.
But it hasn’t been all jet-setting, bling and champagne for Ayre. Bodog’s success led to a spread in Forbes Magazine, where a provocative front cover proclaimed, “Catch Me If You Can: Cyber Bookie Calvin Ayre Sticks It To Uncle Sam.” This in turn got the attention of US authorities, who moved swiftly against any brands that allowed Americans to gamble online. In 2006, banks were barred from making money transfers related to internet gambling. Ayre reacted swiftly to the shake-up, remodeling his brand and licensing it to other gambling operators. Ayre said his actions were legal due to a complex series of financial transactions on three different continents. Felony charges against Ayre and Bodog were dropped.Today, Ayre’s business focus is on internet gambling in Asia, which is where he says the “real market” is.
Today, Ayre does not travel to the US, where internet gaming is under close scrutiny. He also says that he will not return to Saskatchewan, his home province, because it’s too remote and too boring. Perhaps the laid back Caribbean vibe of Antigua will be to Ayre’s liking, and the new resort