Stop Gambling With Our Future
Google and Yahoo, two of the most widely used Web search engines, have decided to stop running advertisements for online casinos, a shift that could thwart the growth of Internet gambling.
The move, which the companies said would take effect by the end of April, comes as stop gambling ads prosecutors are threatening action against American companies that do business with Internet casinos that are based abroad.
The prosecutors are arguing that the American companies are ''aiding and abetting'' offshore Internet casinos, whose operations are illegal in the United States.
Prosecutors started a grand jury investigation last year, issuing subpoenas to American broadcasters, publishers and Web sites that run advertisements for online casinos.
Executives from Yahoo, based in Sunnyvale, Calif.
The fact that each company announced the change in policy on Friday appeared to be coincidental.
Jennifer Stephens, a spokeswoman for Overture, a Yahoo subsidiary that sells paid sponsored links for Yahoo, said the policy change was the result of a ''lack of clarity'' in the legal and regulatory environment.
Overture also provides advertising links to MSN, the Internet access division of Microsoft.
Stephens said that it would no longer provide casino advertising to MSN, and MSN confirmed that it would, as a result, stop running the advertisements.
Stephens said Yahoo would cease running casino advertisements on its United States Web site, but it would continue to run online casino advertising on its Web sites published in dozens of countries where Internet casinos are legal.
Google executives, however, said Friday that they would stop running Internet gambling advertisements in all markets.
A spokesman for Google, David Krane, said the policy change was part of an effort to ''reflect the growth of our company and ensure we provide the best search experience for our users and advertisers.
Search engine companies, broadcasters and experts who follow the Internet gambling industry said the loss of advertising was not big enough to make a major difference to the profits of American broadcasters and publishers.
But some industry experts said the policy change could have a big impact on the online casinos and their ability to reach out to customers.
It doesn't leave many outlets'' for casinos to reach American customers.
The new policies angered some representatives of the Internet gambling industry who contend the search engine click here were bullied by prosecutors wielding an untested legal theory.
The site took some 33 million bets last year from people in North America, mostly stop gambling ads the United States, the company said.
Although operating an online casino is illegal, state laws vary as stop gambling ads whether it is illegal for an individual to place a bet.
In New York, for example, it is not a crime to place a bet over the Internet, state prosecutors said.
A decision by a panel of the World Trade Organization issued on March 24 that the United States' prohibition on Internet gambling violated the country's free trade obligations.
But companies do not appear eager to test the aiding and abetting theory.
Several major media companies -- including the radio giants Clear Channel Communications and Infinity Broadcasting and Discovery Networks -- have recently stopped taking online gambling advertisements.
Companies that continue for hollywood casino pa gambling age limit well! accept those advertisements, like LookSmart, a San Francisco-based search engine, said they were reviewing their policies.
Sullivan declined to say whether LookSmart had received a subpoena.
Terrible anti gambling ads
An advertising slogan designed to warn gamblers about addiction has not. the fun stops, stop' slogan on the behaviour of problem gamblers.
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