The Nevada State Attorney Office is currently waiting for the return of Bryan Micon, a fugitive Bitcoin entrepreneur who fled the country immediately after facing an arrest warrant for operating an illegal gambling website, named Seals with Clubs.
Micon, who spent his last few months in Antigua, will be appearing before the local court this Thursday, his lawyer David Chesnoff told media. If found guilty, he would be liable to face at least 10 years jail time, alongside $50,000 in fines, for ignoring to obtain the license from the concerned authority which, in this case, is Nevada Gaming Control Board.
According to the current licensing rules, the operator of interactive gaming license is liable to deposit an initial fee of $500,000 for the first two years. After the completion of the said period, the operator is obliged to pay $250,000 annually for running the online businesses. And as the court records suggest, Micon clearly violated these norms during the operation of his gaming website.
“Operating or otherwise conducting gaming in the state without a license is illegal, and this office will aggressively pursue individuals and companies who seek to circumvent gaming regulations” the prosecutor had quoted in a press statement published this April.
An Unintentional Felony?
But unlike an act-with-intention, the committed felony looks more like an ignorance-of-law. According to the information procured by the Las Vegas Review Journal, Seals with Clubs was operational between March 1 2014 and Feb 9 2015, in which it accepted only Bitcoin as the mode of payment. However, an official guidance issued by Nevada’s Financial Institutions Division in April 2014 called Bitcoin an illegal tender — meaning there was no proper regulatory insights at that time, a dilemma that continues to exist even today.
Due to such regulatory uncertainties, many Bitcoin businesses flourished and demised in the past. It could be possible that Micon simply failed to research the requirements that were needed to launch a gaming website, as he was simply thinking of himself as some digital currency innovator — like many others.
“As a husband, father of a 2 year old girl, & outspoken Bitcoin advocate, I desire nothing more than to continue to be with my wife, raise my daughter, and continue to build layers on top of the Bitcoin protocol,” he wrote on his crowdfunding campaign website. “The state of Nevada desires to take that away from me. Please help me fight.”