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Microsoft, Google, Yahoo to pay $31.5m in Online Gambling Case



2:53 am on Dec 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I saw this headline relating to Google Adwords and wondered if there might be a commercial benefit and/or an obligation , for Google to filter illegal sites from the SERP's.

Some regional laws may be different, which may make selective regional control of SERP results an issue.

A quick look at this search shows no Adwords, but a multitude of SERP's : [google.co.uk...]

Web giants settle gambling claims

Online gambling is illegal in the US but still widespread Microsoft, Google and Yahoo have agreed to pay a total of $31.5m (15.7m) to settle claims that they accepted online ads promoting illegal gambling. None of the three firms have accepted any wrongdoing as part of the civil settlement, which concludes an investigation dating back to 2000.
The US authorities claimed the trio illegally accepted payments from online gaming firms between 1997 and 2007.

The companies said they stopped taking such adverts several years ago.


Any thoughts?

[edited by: Whitey at 3:04 am (utc) on Dec. 20, 2007]


7:20 am on Dec 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

System: The following message was spliced on to this thread from: http://www.webmasterworld.com/webmaster/3531850.htm [webmasterworld.com] by engine - 9:32 am on Dec. 20, 2007 (utc 0)

CHICAGO - Microsoft Corp. and the Internet search engines Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc. agreed to pay $31.5 million to resolve claims they helped promote illegal gambling.


Google, the world's most-used search engine, is to pay $3 million.


"Google voluntarily discontinued running such ads, which were a very small part of our AdWords business, in April 2004," [Jon Murchinson] said by e-mail.



11:58 am on Dec 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

We've been hearing rumours that G is going to allow g ads in the UK in the near future. Can anyone confirm / deny?


3:41 pm on Dec 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Here is the part that makes me angry. The attorney said:

"While we did not admit any wrongdoing, the Department of Justice has advised that online gambling is illegal in the United States and ads to promote it are improper," Murchinson said in a statement. "

Improper? Either its illegal or its not. Why the
hell did they give in to the government again.

[edited by: TheGuyAboveYou at 3:42 pm (utc) on Dec. 20, 2007]


3:58 pm on Dec 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Exactly TheGuyAboveYou.

I hear ads all the time on my radio telling me to come to a neighboring state to play poker, while I live in a state where table gaming is illegal. So in the same logic as applied in this case, it is "improper" for this neighboring state to advertise to me in my state.


6:07 pm on Dec 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member kaled is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

The online ads were not inviting people to travel to a place where online gambling was legal, they were encouraging illegal gambling (at home).

Whilst laws differ around the world, I think there are probably few places where adverts that promote illegal activity are deemed acceptable - that is the essence of the case here.

To recap, online gambling at home - illegal, travelling to another state to gamble - legal.

Kaled (in the UK).


6:28 pm on Dec 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Great. Send me a link to a law that says having an ad on your site that links to a casino where gambling is legal
is not legal.


7:37 pm on Dec 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Just as a side point the legislation that was passed (actually was sneakily appended to a DOD bill) called the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) for short. This bill does not make it illegal for users to play online but it does make it illegal for financial institutions to accept transactions that are deemed gambling related. The government is not going after the individual player nor does it intend on it.

There is no law that currently makes it illegal for a player to gamble online (aside from sports wagering which has been illegal since 1961 when the Wire Act was signed into law). Additionally it's worth mentioning that google is only responsible for any ads that it accepted in the past that were sports wagering related. Poker, Casino and Bingo to this day could be accepted by them if they so wished.

Kind regards and Happy Holidays,


7:40 pm on Dec 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

UIGEA information for anyone who wishes to read:



7:47 pm on Dec 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

The whole law is ridiculous and makes me mad. ANY government doesn't have the right to tell me what to do with my money as long as it doesn't hurt others. It's called 'liberties'. Something the USA forgot about long ago.


7:50 pm on Dec 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I just read it. A link to a site in another country does
not look illegal according to this.

For example, I get blasted with Las Vegas ads on the
radio. I am not in Vegas. Fine them too. Its just advertising. We can not be responsible for policing who
gambles where on the interenet.

Just another example of the US wanting to keep the real money for themselves.

Taxes, and Gambling are huge moneymakers. Why do you think
they allow themselves to run lotteries but not us.


9:03 pm on Dec 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Johnser - I'm not hearing that rumour, but I think Google UK will find 2008 to be a lot tougher. So accepting gambling ads would be an obvious extra revenue stream.


9:32 pm on Dec 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Online gambling is illegal in the US

Actually the law states that it is illegal for credit card companies to process the payment. But it is perfectly legal for the united states citizen to play "lets say poker" at fulltiltpoker.com

Plus the law was past about a year or two ago. Don't you guys remember the "party poker" ads on TV?


9:38 pm on Dec 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I hate laws that violates my freedom as an individual. If i want to play poker or bet on football team its my business.

Gov't should stop limiting our freedoms and go do their job:
Fix medicare
Improve social security
Pump some money in to education
Another thing they could do - close down youtube for copyright infringement.


6:34 am on Dec 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Actually, if you live in the USA, you should check your state laws.

Some states have laws that make gambling online illegal and many (perhaps all) states have specific laws regarding the advertising of gambling.

This is why you'll see poker ads point to the .net free site rather than the .com gambling site. It's their little way of getting around the law.

See your state's statutes for more information. And if you live in the USA and advertise gambling in any way, you should already have an attorney that specializes in the field to advise you. If not, you're playing with fire.


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