Bitcoin poker operator, back in Las Vegas, agrees to deal

Bryan Micon, who ran a Bitcoin-fueled poker site from Las Vegas, has agreed to plead guilty to avoid jail time, his lawyer told a judge Thursday.

Should Micon complete a still-undetermined probation on a felony count of operating an unlicensed interactive gaming system and pay a $25,000 fine, that charge would be reduced to a gross misdemeanor, according to his attorney Richard Schonfeld.

As part of the deal, Micon would agree to give up computers, $900 in cash and 3.0996 Bitcoins that gaming authorities seized from his home during a February raid.

Schonfeld called the agreement “an appropriate resolution,” while Micon, who attended the hearing in a dark suit, declined to comment.

Micon went to Antigua after the raid, but returned to Las Vegas for Thursday’s court appearance and would remain in the U.S. at least until his probation is completed, Schonfeld said.

A warrant for his arrest was issued in late April, followed by a press conference where top gaming officials flanked Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt.

Court papers stated that Micon operated Seals with Clubs, which accepted Bitcoin digital currency, between March 1, 2014 and Feb. 9, 2015 “without first procuring and thereafter maintaining in effect the required licenses.

If a judge does not agree to probation for Micon, he has the option of withdrawing his plea, his lawyer said.

The gaming charge carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a $50,000 fine. Laxalt said the case marked the first prosecution of a poker site using digital currency.

The Gaming Control Board first learned of Seals with Clubs in August 2013, when a Belgian resident complained about the site, according to an affidavit for arrest.

In Skype conversations observed by gaming agents, Micon estimated that Seals with Clubs earned $10,000 to $12,000 profit each month.

Micon would be briefly booked in the Clark County Detention Center on Thursday, but released on is own recognizance. He’s due back in court next week.

Contact reporter David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Find him on Twitter: @randompoker