Bitcoin poker site operator gets probation

Courtesy Bryan Micon via Twitter

Professional poker player Bryan Micon.

The Las Vegas man who pleaded guilty to running an illegal online gambling website that used Bitcoin was sentenced today to a maximum of two years’ probation.

Bryan Micon agreed in District Court to also pay a $25,000 fine and surrender certain items that authorities seized from him, among other conditions. He will avoid jail time as a result of the plea he entered in July.

Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt announced in April that his office was pursuing legal action against Micon in a case that officials characterized as a first for the state. Micon was charged with one felony count of operating an unlicensed interactive gaming system due to his involvement with the poker website Seals with Clubs, which allowed players to gamble with Bitcoin, the alternative currency.

Micon’s felony can be reduced to a gross misdemeanor once he successfully completes probation.

After his home was raided by state authorities in February, Micon and his family left the United States for Antigua, a Caribbean island with a reputation for friendliness toward online gaming. Micon has said they were already planning to go there.

But Micon returned to Nevada once charges were filed against him, and his attorney Richard Schonfeld said today that Micon would remain in the state for as long as he was on probation.

District Court Judge Kerry Earley considered whether to sentence Micon to a maximum of two or three years’ probation. She chose two after Schonfeld argued that Micon has responded to the charges against him responsibly and wishes to return to Antigua for a job opportunity after he serves his sentence. Until then, he is employed by a drone store in Las Vegas.