SwCPoker, the successor to the world’s largest and most used Bitcoin poker network, has relaunched less than three weeks after its predecessor was forced offline by the Nevada Gaming Commission.
Seals with Clubs (SWC) unexpectedly went dark on February 11th, the same day Marketing Director Bryan Micon would later reveal he was forced to come out on his lawn at gunpoint from his Nevada residence.
Nine days later, SWC announced it was ceasing operations effective immediately due to several events related to operational security.
In its notice to users, SWC revealed Micon planned to move forward with the business by repackaging the network and migrating operations onto a new software platform.
On March 1st, SwCPoker opened its doors from its EU-based domain, after Micon himself moved with his family to the more online gambling-friendly island of Antigua.
The site features some flashy new graphics along with the pillars of the SWC platform including anonymous accounts, cash outs in less than 12 hours, with only Bitcoin wagering.
With SWC’s sudden departure and rapid SwCPoker rebrand, forecasts were cloudy to whether users would migrate to Micon’s new venture. According to traffic reports, the site’s opening day attracted only 150 players to some 20 tables for all game variations, a far cry from SWC’s activity levels.
However, that didn’t stop Micon from praising the rollout. “What a brilliant few days for Bitcoin poker. The successful launch of SwCPoker has been met with worldwide cheer,” Micon wrote on the site. “Look for cash game stakes to slowly increase as confidence in the new system builds. Thanks for the outpouring of support for SWC. We are happy to be back and serving the btc poker public.”
More Legal Challenges Ahead?
The Nevada Gaming Commission didn’t formally bring charges against Micon, but the raid was apparently reason enough for him to uproot his family and move to Antigua.
“I was handcuffed and lead out half-naked onto my front lawn. Over the next eight hours they stole most of my electronics, and of course this is seriously hindering to my output,” he said via YouTube following the events in February.
“…After I was led out at gunpoint in my underwear it was pretty clear that it was proper to leave sooner rather than later.”
Deciding whether SwCPoker is the quasi-legal “wild wild west” of poker or just another “bad actor” infiltrating the US depends on who you ask. “It’s important to see sites like this remain viable in the face of certain types of pressure, though SwCPoker’s move to Antigua was likely a wise decision for all involved,” BitcoinCasinos.com CEO Jay Purcell said.
The other side argues Micon’s failure to pay taxes on his gaming revenues, operating without an iGaming license, and facilitation of illegal financial transactions could constitute money laundering.
The Nevada Gaming Commission says its investigation is ongoing.
Editor’s Note: The above story contained some factual errors, which have now been corrected. We would like to clarify that Bryan Micon was never arrested or charged with any crime. The errors are regretted.