SWC Boss Bryan Micon to Plead Guilty4 years ago
After initially indicating a desire to fight the charge of operating a poker site without a proper license, Seals With Clubs chairman Bryan Micon has decided instead to fold his cards and agree to a plea deal admitting guilt to a misdemeanor.
Vegas Inc. and a number of other media outlets reported that Micon appeared in Las Vegas yesterday, voluntarily surrendering and being booked before arriving in court where his attorney and prosecutors negotiated a deal that will result in probation and no jail time. The agreed upon sentence calls for a $25,000 fine, and Micon will not recover $900 in cash, roughly $800 worth of Bitcoin, and electronic items seized by law enforcement during a February raid at his Las Vegas home.
That raid led to the shutdown of the Bitcoin-friendly Seals With Clubs and also prompted Micon to pull up stakes and get out of town. His destination was Antigua, a Caribbean island rumored to be the locale of choice for gaming site operators who have run afoul of the law. Indications are that bosses from both Absolute Poker and Bodog may have relocated there.
Micon promptly launched a new Bitcoin poker room known as SwCPoker shortly after his arrival in Antigua. The new site has yet to make the same splash that Seals With Clubs did in terms of player traffic, failing to achieve the modest popularity of its predecessor in just a few short months. All Seals With Clubs players were made whole after the site was forced offline.
Funding Falls Short
The Bitcoin poker entrepreneur took to social media in April after the original felony charge that carried up to 10 years behind bars and a $50,000 fine was filed against him. Micon asked for financial assistance from poker players via a GoFundMe web page, estimating the need for $100,000 in attorneys fees to fight the allegation.
The poker-playing public anted up only $4,000 before Micon announced that GoFundMe put a stop to his efforts for reasons never revealed. Micon has since apparently had a change of heart, deciding not to fight and accept the plea deal that will keep a possible felony conviction off his record, as well as allow him to enjoy his freedom.
That freedom is expected to be restricted by the parameters of probation, a period of time that needs to be set by the judge at the next court date on July 6. Remaining in-state is usually a requirement of probation, meaning that Micon may have to reside in Nevada for a time before perhaps heading back to the Caribbean islands.
Bitcoin Boom or Bust?
Bitcoin is a virtual currency that remains unregulated. Its popularity among gaming site operators has increased in recent months, as more have added Bitcoin to their cashier cages as an alternate form of making deposits and withdrawals. Bitcoin-only poker sites have also increased this year, with a few newbies entering the market.
While accepting players worldwide - the U.S. included - Bitcoin-only poker operators seemingly fall into the gray area of legalized online gaming. However, conducting functions pertaining to unregulated poker site operations while located within a regulated state such as Nevada appears to be a no-no, as Micon has discovered.
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