• Microsoft, Google and Yahoo Pay $31.5 Million

    19 December 2007

    Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo Pay $31.5 Million

    These Internet Companies, have agreed to pay $31.5 Million to settle federal civil allegations they took illegal gambling ads.

    They also agreed to stop taking ads and wagering for sports and other online gambling.

    An investigation was conducted by Hanaway’s office, with the IRS and the FBI, dates to 2000, she stated that Negotiations have been going on for 12 to 18 months.

    Hanaway stated that “this is a very profitable business that had a lot of money to spend on marketing.” And that was aiding the gambling firms advertising on the Web.

    These three companies said they stopped taking the ads years ago.

    Hanaway said “I do think it will have a major impact. These are three of the largest online organizations in the world.

    The public service campaign will be aimed at informing users, especially those of college age and younger, that online gambling is illegal.

    Microsoft’s $21 million portion of the settlement includes a $4.5 million forfeit, $7.5 million to be paid to the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children and $9 million in public service ads over a three-year period starting next year.

    Microsoft said that this agreement will reflect their ongoing commitment to online safty. They are hoping that their educational campaign will stop young people from gambling before they start.

    $7.5 million which is Yahoo’s share of the settlement includes a $3 million forfeiture and $4.5 million in public service ads over three years.

    Yahoo stopped accepting online gambling advertisements years ago, and after the U.S. Attorney’s office contacted Yahoo with its concerns, they worked cooperatively over several years to reach this settlement.

    $3 million, Google is to pay is less than half its average daily profit of $11 million. The ads appeared in sponsored links at Google.com and other Web sites that that belong to its ad network.

    Not admitting any wrongdoing, the Department of Justice has advised that online gambling is illegal in the United States and ads to promote it are improper.
    Google voluntarily discontinued running these ads. Which were a very small part of their AdWords business, in April 2004.
    Earlier in the year, the London-based Internet gambling firm BetOnSports PLC pleaded guilty in St. Louis to federal racketeering charges. Cases are still pending against company executives. Hanaway’s office also settled a civil case against BetOnSports in November 2006. That settlement prohibits the company from accepting any bets from gamblers in the U.S.

    Authorities said. The investigations of Microsoft, Yahoo and Google were unrelated to the BetOnSports case.
    The U.S. Attorney’s office in St. Louis has previously prosecuted and settled with other companies over Web-based gambling and gambling ads agreements that generated more than $40 million in forfeitures and back taxes.

    In my opinion, how this all will affect online gambling is yet to be seen. Americans need to speak up for their rights to gamble online. It should be our choice! Where is America “ The Land of The Free?”