Sask.-born billionaire shrugs off police raid
A Saskatchewan-born billionaire whose Costa Rican mansion was raided by police on the weekend is calling the raid a "golden opportunity" to promote his internet gambling business.
Calvin Ayre was on the cover of Forbes' "world's wealthiest people" issue last week and the business magazine says he's worth in excess of $1 billion US.
It's a long way from the pig farm near Lloydminster where he spent his early years, although Ayre, 44, insists he hasn't changed much.
"I'm still the same guy I was growing up on that farm," he said.
On Saturday, about a hundred police raided his multimillion-dollar home.
Gambling is illegal in Costa Rica and it was reported police thought Ayre was hosting a poker tournament.
However, Ayre said he was actually hosting a wrap-up event after shooting the latest episode of a realty TV show – about poker.
"We got [the police] on still pictures and, interestingly enough, we are working on a strategy on how we can market that into the show," he said. "It's given me massive publicity."
Police did not arrest Ayre, but he said they confiscated his laptop computer and ate food put out for his guests. "They ate half my buffet," he said.
Later in the day, Ayre and his entourage went to a luxury hotel where he partied with celebrities and models, he said.
"Being a billionaire is nice, but it's not something you let go to your head," Ayre said.
"You live in a nice house, you fly first class," he said. "I haven't sat around feeling like a billionaire."