Seals With Clubs (SWC) was once the largest online Bitcoin poker network in the world, but Bryan Micon, the room’s former chairman, is today not fighting for player traffic but his personal freedom.
In February, Micon relocated to Antigua following a raid at his Las Vegas residence that preceded the closure of Seals With Clubs, and though he wasn’t charged or arrested at the time, an arrest warrant was issued by Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt in April on one count of operating an unlicensed interactive gaming website.
For nearly two months it was unknown whether Micon would return to the United States to face the charge, or if he’d remain in gaming-friendly Antigua, a twin-island country in the middle of the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean that was unlikely to aid in his extradition.
Now it appears Micon is ready to have his day in court, and he’s not going in alone but with arguably the most influential and powerful attorney in Vegas.
Chesnoff Gets You Off
From Hollywood’s Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton to gambling’s Phil Ivey and most recently Paul Phua, the man who operated an alleged illegal World Cup sports betting ring, Las Vegas attorney David Chesnoff is the ace of spades of legal representation on the Strip.
And that’s precisely who Micon has hired to make his case.
However, it isn’t clear exactly how Micon is planning to underwrite his no doubt pricey defense by the high-powered attorney.
In late April, Micon launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for his legal defense.
“The price for representation will quickly deplete my funds, and I am asking for donations from anyone who feels like helping me,” Micon pleaded on the crowdsourcing website. “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.”
Micon’s campaign goal of $100,000 fell short, with 59 donors raising just $4,005 as of Monday morning.
That won’t cover many billable hours, if any, for Chesnoff’s services, meaning Micon is likely diving into his own savings to make his case.
End of the Coin?
The single charge for operating an illegal gaming website comes with a potential penalty of 10 years behind bars and a $50,000 fine, but it seems, at least from the outside, that the two sides are ready to work together to draw a mutually beneficial Seals With Clubs conclusion.
A judge this week recalled the warrant, allowing Micon to travel from Antigua to Nevada on his own accord, where once he arrives he’ll be briefly detained at the Clark County Detention Center before being released on his own recognizance.
Chesnoff says his client will then appear in court for a hearing on Thursday.
Micon argues he’s committed no wrongdoings, and simply wants to continue to fight for Bitcoin and raise his daughter, alongside his wife. “The state of Nevada desires to take that away from me,” Micon said. “Please help me fight.”
But Nevada, which hypes its case against Micon as the state’s first-ever criminal prosecution of an illegal poker website, isn’t ready to completely drop the charge.
A joint resolution that would give Nevada the headline it seeks and Micon a chance to get on with his life might be the best way to settle this tangled web.