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December 19, 2007

Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google pay $31.5 million to settle US Internet gambling charges

Posted by David Hunter at 8:24 PM ET.

I won’t even try to explain the US law related to Internet gambling, but today Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google paid $31.5 million to settle claims that they promoted Internet gambling by carrying Internet gambling ads on their ad networks:

Microsoft Corporation, Google, Inc. and Yahoo! have entered into settlements with the U.S. to resolve claims that they promoted illegal gambling, United States Attorney Catherine L. Hanaway announced today. The total amount of the three settlements is $31.5 million in value to the United States.

The Microsoft settlement, totaling $21 million, consists of $4.5 million to the United States and a $7.5 million contribution to the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC) to establish a fund to assist ICMEC with its national and international mission.  Additionally, Microsoft Corporation agrees to provide a $9 million online, public service advertising campaign to inform and educate a target audience comprised of college level or younger people that online gambling enterprises are illegal under U.S. law.  The educational advertising campaign is to run for three years, beginning in early 2008. This settlement, based on illegal conduct (which Microsoft Corporation neither contests nor admits), resolves claims that between 1997 and June 2007, Microsoft received payments from on-line gambling businesses for advertising on-line gambling.

These settlements involve corporate conduct the Government found in violation of the Federal Wire Wager Act, federal wagering excise tax laws and various states’ statutes and municipal laws prohibiting gambling.  Unregulated commercial gambling is illegal throughout the United States.

The details of the Yahoo settlement for $7.5 million and the Google settlement for $3 million are similar and available by following the link.

Filed under Coopetition, General Business, Google, Governmental Relations, Legal, Microsoft, Yahoo

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