Former Seals With Clubs poker site operator Bryan Micon has been recently given a sentence of two years probation and a $25,000 fine as a result of his arrest for conducting an illegal online bitcoin poker site earlier this year.
The Las Vegas professional poker player came to the attention of US authorities in August last year, when his website was discovered to be missing the required licensing. It was subsequently shut down and Micon was sought on a warrant in February this year, with his property searched and a small amount of Bitcoin seized. Nevada officials confirmed that Micon left for Antigua after his arrest warrant was issued.
On Tuesday 3rd November, Clark County Distrcit Court Judge Kerry Earley handed Micon his sentence, which could potentially have entailed a ten year stint in state prison as well as a $50,000 cash fine. He was instead given a more lenient verdict, with a two year probation stint which he must complete in Las Vegas. He plans to move to to Antigua when his probation is finished and take up a job in the technology office of a newspaper there.
Judge Earley had the option of giving Micon a three-year probation, but decided on two after accepting the plea of his defence attorney Richard Schonfeld, who argued that Micon had acted responsibly in relation to the charges brought against him.
Micon faces 2½ years in state prison if he violates terms of his sentence in any way. Should he complete his probation period successfully, the felony charge against him will be reduced to a lesser charge of misdemeanor.
The Seals with Clubs/Bryan Micon case is considered the first-of-its-kind; the first case dealing with bitcoin and illegal Internet gambling to arise at state-level prosecution. It is Nevada’s first illegal online gambling operation to be prosecuted since the state introduced its regulated online poker market in April 2013.
Three states currently have legalized the practice among players who log in within their state lines – Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware. Philadelphia is also in the process of also adapting its gambling legislation to allow for online games.