Yahoo Google and Microsoft Settlements Regarding Online Gambling

Published on: December 23, 2007 

United States District Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri announced that they have conclusively reached settlements with 3 of the countries largest corporation, regarding their alleged participation in promoting illegal gambling online. Combined the settlements total more than 31.5 million USD.

The settlement for the Microsoft Corporation is extensive. The total amount they will have to pay is 21 million USD. 7.5 million of which will go to the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC) to establish and assist their international efforts to safely locate missing children. 4.5 million USD will go to the federal government. There is also a required 9 million dollars that will be allocated for online public services announcements targeted at informing the younger college age, and under crowd about which online gambling enterprises are illegal under the federal law. Interesting side note is that the federal government isn’t clear on this themselves, thus it is going to be an obstacle for Microsoft to develop these ads. The advertising is to begin early in 2008, and to continue to run for 3 years total. This settlement with Microsoft is based on alleged, and un-collaborated, claims that the company received payments for online gambling companies for advertising and other services bet

ween 1997 and 2007. The 10-year span predates the application of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, but is brought based on the federal aiding and abiding statutes.

In the settlement with Google consists of 3 million in USD. In similar allegations they received online gabling advertising, which is claimed to also be illegal, during the same time frame as Microsoft, 1997- June 2007. The law that is being applied to these 3 major international powerhouses of online influence, is the Federal Aiding and abetting statute 18 USC Section 2. This is still a complex case, even with the settlements.

In the Yahoo! Settlement, 3 million dollars will go directly to the United States federal government. Like the Microsoft settlement, Yahoo! will provide 4.5 million dollars of online public service announcements. Their online public service announcements will be targeting the same audience as the Microsoft ads, however their focus will consist of informing the public about online operators of the online casinos as well as their participants being subject to prosecution and other subsequent consequences. Other aspects of the online gaming industry that will be touched on by this campaign are tele-based sports booking companies, and remote gaming activities providing services within the United States. Again this will be a difficult campaign to keep accurate because of the problems with the definition of illegal online gaming activities, as it is written in the online gaming laws.

Unregulated, commercial designed gambling activity is illegal across the United Sates. It was perceived and alleged the corporate activities of the 3 mega giants were violating the Federal Wire Wager Act, federal wagering excise tax laws, as well as a number of state level laws perceived to be applicable to each case. In the announcement regarding the settlements, the district attorney with the cases mentioned how the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations (IRSCI) where successfully and intricately a part of the process of bringing these charges, and they were thanked for their assistance.

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