Create An Ad Campaign For Gambling Sites? You Now Face 20 Years In Jail

from the reasonable-punishment? dept

The US government's latest battle against online gambling is quickly reaching ridiculous levels. Remember the Washington state law that forced a website that reviewed online gambling sites offline and threatened the owner with criminal charges? That may be nothing compared to what the Feds are apparently looking to do with execs at an advertising firm who happened to have BetOnSports as a client. BetOnSports, of course, is the sports betting site that is perfectly legal in the countries where it's based, but whose exec has been jailed and whose site has been has been shut down. These advertising execs, who simply advertised a site they believed was perfectly legal, are being charged with being part of a racketeering conspiracy to "defraud gamblers" (which makes you wonder if any of those folks who lost money while using BetOnSports can now sue the company as well, claiming they were victims of fraud...). These advertising execs could now face 20 years in jail and huge fines -- all for running a basic promotional campaign for a service that was legal in its country of origin and is legal in many places throughout the country already. Of course, this isn't the first time the US government has decided to go after advertising when it comes to online gambling. A few years ago, they threatened to file criminal charges against sites that accepted ads for online gambling, which many people believe is a violation of free speech. However, the most ridiculous thing about all of this is that as the Feds try so hard to crack down on this, they like to make sure that there are exemptions for the type of gambling they like to engage in. Aren't there more important things for our government to be doing?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Scott, Jul 20th, 2006 @ 1:38am

    I really wish that politicians would go after real issues.

    But I guess this is easier.

     

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  2.  
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    Danno, Jul 20th, 2006 @ 3:14am

    This is what's commonly called the "Smoke Screen" tactic.

     

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  3.  
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    Ernesto, Jul 20th, 2006 @ 3:17am

    Just a shame

    Is true, they should be focusing on important problems.. but this seems to be top of the pile...

    I am a costarican citizen, and as far as I know Betonsports ran a honest business where all players were paid... They were big because of good business, not unloyal and fraud statements as some claim. Plus this company provides more than 2000 direct jobs plus thousands of indirect ones

     

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  4.  
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    Richard W. Davis, Jul 20th, 2006 @ 3:24am

    Online gambling and the government...

    What do you call someone who says not to do something, but does it themselves with impunity?

    Are we all not gambling on the ability of our elected officials to uphold the United States Constitution. Based on their deplorable record, thus far, I think this is a much longer shot than any other wager we might make.

    "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness..." are guaranteed inalienable as I recall. I have several family members who have given their lives for these concepts. Now I and my fellow American citizens are being told they no longer apply... I find our government, on all levels, shameful, wasteful, ineffective, and thankfully, replaceable.

    "Cast out your old tired electorate." That's coyote logic for an election year.

    Be a part of the process that makes us strong, or reap the whirlwind of the disasters approaching us.

     

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  5.  
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    woody, Jul 20th, 2006 @ 3:54am

    Find a politician

    Find a politican(s) that have gambled on BetOnSports and expose them...

    I'm sure there's at least one

     

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  6.  
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    Fl_Gulfer, Jul 20th, 2006 @ 4:32am

    Why don't they do something productive like shoot all the lobbiest.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2006 @ 4:55am

    7th post!

     

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  8.  
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    George, Jul 20th, 2006 @ 5:42am

    The only reason the government hates it, is because they can't tax it. Anyone for a tea party?

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2006 @ 5:47am

    "AMONG them are life liberty and the persuit of happiness"

     

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  10.  
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    w.e.stone sr, Jul 20th, 2006 @ 5:54am

    gambling

    I think there should be no GAMBLING on the NET!!!

    This preys on old people as well as the young they
    get in debt faster enought without gambling.

    Gambling leads to other things as robbing,stealing,
    even doing without things needed for everyday life!!!

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2006 @ 5:55am

    This should include lottery web sites.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2006 @ 5:56am

    "I think there should be no GAMBLING on the NET!!!"

    Umm, I think there should be no laws controlling our lives where they need not be. There must be laws to protect people against one another, but personal issues should stay that - personal issues.

    Soon, the government will be telling you what you can and cannot eat.

     

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  13.  
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    Rational Beaver, Jul 20th, 2006 @ 6:05am

    Re:

    Actually, not too many years ago California passed a law (by referendum even) that made it illegal to eat horses.

     

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  14.  
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    mike, Jul 20th, 2006 @ 6:19am

    betonsports

    I guess this mean that every boxer how had Golden Palace painted on their backs during their fights, could also go to jail. It would be interesting to see how many legislators have participated on online gambling, you know there must have been some.

     

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  15.  
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    Jeff, Jul 20th, 2006 @ 6:23am

    Re:

    Not directly correlating, but what about the folks who tried to sue fast-food companies like McDonalds for "causing" obesity? In that case, it wasn't the government at work, but a private entity that was trying to use the government (the courts) to mandate what U.S. citizens should or should not eat -- and not to mention make a few bucks outta the lawsuit themselves. Last I remember hearing about this was that luckily they failed. LOL.

     

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  16.  
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    will, Jul 20th, 2006 @ 6:25am

    Re: gambling

    This preys on old people as well as the young they get in debt faster enought without gambling. Gambling leads to other things as robbing,stealing, even doing without things needed for everyday life!!!
    Yea I hear about 90 year olds everyday robbing banks and holding up liquer stores, so they can pay off their online gambling debt...... I just cant fathom the mind of someone who thinks like you do.. should all enticing behavior be outlawed? Plenty of legal activities are taken to far by anyone with the disposition to do so, and become destructive. Whats so special about gambling that makes it different? Why do states that have allowances for betting on horse races, dog races, and lotteries suddenly have to stop the "scourge" of gambling?

     

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  17.  
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    Passerby, Jul 20th, 2006 @ 6:28am

    Re: gambling

    Speculation on equities, forex, commodities, etc are causing similar problems if not worst, betting like all the above is just a part of things people do. Cut all the hypocracies, the ONLY real motivation is for their tax coffers. If they really want to get rid of social ills, they should jolly well start with horse racing, lotteries, stock markets, etc.

    The authorities really need to get their priorities right, there are so many higher priority issues needing their attention!

     

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  18.  
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    Ap, Jul 20th, 2006 @ 6:39am

    Once again lazy government prosecuters are trying to go after the politically weakest people. Usually its the poor and disenfranchised but in this case, its just the disenfranchised. Why, one might ask of these very prosecutors, aren't they going after people advertising Indian casinos?

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2006 @ 6:47am

    It's easy to sit back and cry foul about the situation. Do we have all of the facts? I seriously doubt it, but I do feel that the citizens of the US deserve a) written justification for the change in law (approved by a Federal Judge) and b) grandfather previous advertisers (and anyone using automated ad services such as Ad Sense) out of liability from the new laws that put them in trouble for previously legal activities. New ads would be fair game under these laws though. So if you want to avoid jailtime but you want to gamble online hop on a river and find (or make) some open wireless network.

    Having said that, before loopholes were found in certain states' laws, gambling was illegal in 49 of the 50 states. That would make online gambling illegal by default as well. In most of the cases of loopholes the only legal gambling was state sponsored or on a body of water not limited to one county/parish (one notable exception was the previously allowed horse track gambling, and the Louisiana Downs was later turned into a Harrah's Casino - The Indian reservations are another story).

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2006 @ 6:54am

    gambling..err..STOCK TRADING

    I think there should be no STOCK TRADING on the NET!!!

    This preys on old people as well as the young they
    get in debt faster enought without STOCK TRADING.

    STOCK TRADING leads to other things as robbing,stealing,
    even doing without things needed for everyday life!!!!!!

    The stock market is more of a gamble then playing poker for quarters on a website. I have lost more money on legal activities such as the stock market and lottery tickets then I ever have playing poker.

     

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  21.  
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    Raekwon, Jul 20th, 2006 @ 6:56am

    Ay Carumba

    I might as well go turn myself in now. I really don't understand this administration. Ban online poker when Texas Hold Em' is at the "peak" of it's popularity? I don't think it takes a genius to see that this is a bad business decision. Since our government is merely a large corporation, you'd think they'd want their hands in the poker site's pockets, and not to burn thier pockets. Oh well, everyone get prepared for AmericanPoker.com! sponsored by the good ol' US government, did i mention it's the only "legal" gambling site now? (My prediction)

     

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  22.  
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    Sanguine Dream, Jul 20th, 2006 @ 7:04am


    However, the most ridiculous thing about all of this is that as the Feds try so hard to crack down on this, they like to make sure that there are exemptions for the type of gambling they like to engage in.


    It's not that they like to engage in it. It's that they are taking the lion's share of the profit. The government gets almost as much from a lottery as the winner does. I bet most of those politicians that are fighting online gambling have spent lots of money in casinoes (trips that taxpayer dollars paid for), horse races, and sports (football, basketball, boxing...). How much do you wanna bet that some politician lost a load of money on one of these gambling sites and is now trying to crack down on them. Funny how no of them are putting this much effort into stopping traditional forms of gambling...

     

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  23.  
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    Hmmm, Jul 20th, 2006 @ 7:09am

    Like the movies

    If they dont pass this bill then everyone will end up like that guy on the movie Firewall!!

     

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  24.  
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    Rick, Jul 20th, 2006 @ 8:16am

    National Referendum

    The one thing missing at the federal level that most local and state governments allow is a national referendum where the citizens can place items on the ballot. It would sure be nice to have a law where we can charge the officials who violate our civil rights. It's clearly a violation of the First Amendment to disallow advertising or even creating advertising campaigns for a legal company or activity. While they may want to ban gambling where the profits don't finance their campaigns, it is still legal where these businesses operate.

    I know, they can start arresting the Presidents of ISPs like AOL or MSN for allowing people to type allofmp3.com, a legal site in Russia...

    Bah.

     

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  25.  
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    Robert, Jul 20th, 2006 @ 8:59am

    Ok now I'm mad

    This is the highest priority for the politicians right now? and I just happen to come across a story that says over 51% of child porn is hosted in the US http://www.electricnews.net/frontpage/news-9742857.html Now I'm starting to want to physically beat these guys for worrying about something stupid when there's obviously much more wrong that they 'should' be working on.

    How do these meetings look? Average citizen: "Hey guys, the US is by far the worst government when it comes to regulating child porn... what do you want to do about that?" Politician: "I'll tell you what the real problem is... 'online gambling'... we just need to tell the people that we are going to crack down on 'onlin gambling' to protect their family interests, and to help their children" Average citizen: "Um, wouldn't cracking down on child porn protect the children?" Politician: "Just let us 'rich people' decide what is wrong and what is right, because everyone knows that poor people are stupid and can't make decisions"

    Well... something like that, lol.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2006 @ 9:42am

    "sigh" good point someone said, wish our govt would solve real issues.;/

    People need to be able to go to hell in their own manner.

    All that is being done is allowing the stupid more time to procreate and spawn more stupid people.

    Too many excuses (im an alcoholic, im addicted to this, that and the other thing). Its an excuse, pure and simple and the more its condoned or "accepted" not only the worse it will become, but it will spawn other excuses.

    Everyone has the ability to stop doing an addictive habit, not everyone wants to. Hence, let them go to hell in their own manner.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2006 @ 9:50am

    And state run lottery?

    What the heck do we call state run lottery if it's not gambling, and it has some of the most clever advertising I've seen. WTF!

     

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  28.  
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    Big Huge Dave, Jul 20th, 2006 @ 9:55am

    This is what you get...

    ...when you vote for Democrats or Republicans. They're BOTH big government advocates as their records show. Only the Libertarians support true smaller government, and a government that is strictly limited by the Constitution, and anything that isn't EXPLICITLY spelled out in the Constitution should be left to the states.

    When you order big government for whatever program you think is "good", such as no smoking laws, seatbelt laws, laws against smoking pot, etc, this is what you get. You support a government program that uses force against people in some manner (like forcing restaurants or other private establishments to forbid smoking)? Then just wait, because someone on the other side of the fence will support something that forces you to do/not do something that you think should be your free choice (gambling online).

    The best way to have freedom is to support it at all levels. Basically, allow people to do whatever they want as long as they don't PHYSICALLY harm someone else's person or property. That's true freedom in its simplest form.

     

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  29.  
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    The_Dock, Jul 20th, 2006 @ 10:27am

    Is is just me...

    Does anyone else think it's weird that most states allow electronic Poker and Keno machines for people to loose their hard earned money, but suddenly online Poker and Keno is against the law? I agree that the government is just upset they can't tax online gambling winnings, but why can't they start?

    We are a country of people who love our freedom. We also like to take risks and challenges in hopes of becoming instant millionaires. We are also a country of hopeless addiction in some of these respects. The government has been preying on us for years. For example, they allow gambling machines, bingo, betting on horse races, the lottery, and thousands of other ways people think they can earn a quick buck. Then they turn around and tax organizations who help cure these "hopeless" gambling addicts.

    One would think the government would make more money by allowing online gambling, both taxing winnings directly and then the aftermatch of addiction that, for the most part, they haven't tried to stop before.

    Just remember, this is an election year and your vote DOES count in getting rid of the governmental weasles.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2006 @ 10:38am

    Prohibition

    Drinking can be bad for people who can't control themselves too, but notice how prohibition failed

     

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  31.  
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    Amazed, Jul 20th, 2006 @ 12:00pm

    US Outlaws Online Gambling

    Check out this link for a balanced overview of the current fiasco:

    http://www.redherring.com/Article.aspx?a=17549&hed=US+Outlaws+Online+Gambling#

    I hope the authorities hear our voices here.

     

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  32.  
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    Dont be controlled, Jul 21st, 2006 @ 1:30pm

    Laying Blame Where it Should be Laid

    Liberty! Let's face it, whether your American, British or any other nationality for that matter, when really has FREEDOM ever been obtained. In fact we have seen more of our liberties taken away from us since the Sept 11 in the name of OUR BEST INTEREST,S when all it's really done is provided governments with excuses to further take away everything that our forefathers fought so hard to protect.

    Let's forget about pointing the finger and laying judgement about what's wrong and what's right in a world that's become so corrupt and twisted in it's thinking it's hypocritical for either leaders of our countries, it's politicians or police, regilious leaders and even community groups to say that their past or present isn't tainted.

    What's important.... live and let live.... nothing else.
    Don't kill or steal from your fellow man, and if your doing this your doing more than most to uphold right in this totally screwed up world.

    Business is business, responsibility is in the hands of the purchaser, casinos no more held a gun to their head and told people to gamble than the porn industry told us to watch porn, nor for us to commit murder, steal, rape or anything else. Everybody has to take responsbility for their own actions.

    Just because gambling or pornography makes certain groups uncomfortable isn't a reason to remove it from society.

    Personal choice, if you don't like gambling, don't gamble. If you have a weak disposition, don't blame casinos for breaking you, get help, you can no more blame casinos for your actions, than you can blame McDonalds for those extra pounds you gained over the years.

    Point of fact, governments should govern and no get involved in business whatsoever.

     

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  33.  
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    Disillusioned, Jul 21st, 2006 @ 10:54pm

    What the US government is doing totally amazed, depressed, stifled ... me!

    USA is not such a great country to be in afterall, I used to think otherwise all my life...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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