A Las Vegas former operator of the Bitcoin poker site and professional gambler was fined $25,000 and placed on two years of probation on Tuesday after he pleaded guilty to the criminal charge of operating an unlicensed interactive gambling system "Seals with Clubs".
The 37 years old man, Bryan, also surrendered 3.0996 of bitcoin credits, $900 in cash and six computers after he returned to Nevada in June from after being in the Caribbean island nation of Antigua which ws part of a plea agreement reached in July.
The Clark County District Court Judge, Kerry Earley, told Mr. Micon that he faced up to 2½ years in a state prison should he violate the terms of his sentence.
Mr. Micon only spoke to tell the judge that he understood. He could easily have faced about 10 years in state prison as well as a $50,000 fine.
Defense attorney, Richard Schonfeld, told the judge Mr. Micon has plans to complete his probation in Las Vegas and then move with his family to Antigua, to take up a job in the technology office of a newspaper there.
The Nevada gambling regulators and the state Attorney General, Adam Laxalt, announced in April that Mr. Micon was being sought on a warrant in what has been called a ‘ first of its kind’ of prosecution in Nevada, who is dealing with bitcoin and illegal Internet gambling.
Laxalt has declared that Nevada should protect their reputation as a leader in casino regulation. Bitcoin currency is not backed by any government. Using it enables Internet transactions to be done without any banks and also provides anonymity in what authorities say provides a means of money laundering and illegal drug sales.
The Nevada officials said Mr. Micon has operated his site for almost a year, and he went to Antigua after
The website sealswithclubs.eu became inactive after they were offering players a opportunity to retrieve their bitcoin balances.
Online gambling has occupied an legal gray area until there was a Federal crackdown in 2011. Later in that year, the U.S. Justice Department said that online gambling, except sports betting, was legal, as long as it was allowed on the state level.
New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware have legalized online gambling for players who log in within their state lines.
Several of the other states are taking into consideration the adoption of laws to allow online games.