Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft settle with U.S. for promoting illegal gambling in the past

The United States government is cracking down on illegal online gambling sites. The sites that support online betting are harming legal and law abiding gambling operations according to government officials.

Catherine L. Hanaway, United States Attorney of the Eastern District of Missouri, announced today that Yahoo!, Microsoft Corporation and Google, Inc. have settled with the United States government for a total of $31.5 million USD. These settlements were to resolve claims that the three Internet giants received payments from online gambling business for advertising of online gambling from 1997 to 2007.

Microsoft settled for the largest portion of the $31.5 million dollars with its contribution being over $21 million USD. The Microsoft settlement will be split with $4.5 million USD going to the United States and $7.5 million USD going to the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC). The settlement also has Microsoft providing $9 million USD for an online public service advertising campaign to help inform college age and younger people that online gambling is illegal under U.S. law.

Google’s portion of the settlement is $3 million USD for settling claims that it received payments from online gambling as well in the 1997 to June of 2007 period. A stipulation of Google’s settlement is that Google neither contests nor admits it received money from online gambling.

Yahoo! settled for $7.5 million USD, also not admitting or contesting the claims that it too profited from online gambling advertising from 1997 to December of 2007. Yahoo! paid $3 million USD directly to the U.S. government and agreed to provide $4.5 million USD in online advertising for a public service advertising campaign.

The advertising campaign is scheduled to begin in January 2008 and is intended to educate people that online or telephone sports book making and casino gambling could make them subject to arrest and prosecution. DailyTech reported on the U.S. ban of online gambling with a bill passed in the House and Senate in October of 2006.

"This is about the Internet.  Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
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