Many Websites Sued Over Gambling Ads… For Breaking No Actual Law

from the how-dare-they-run-ads dept

Is there a law in California against advertising gambling? It’s not entirely clear, to be honest, because the article never bothers to say what the actual law is, so it’s tough to really analyze whether the lawsuits make sense without the context. However, the lawsuit does claim that Google, Yahoo and a variety of other sites violate the law by providing ads on various gambling related keywords. No matter what the legal issues, the case raises a number of questions. First, should a local state law apply to advertising on an international site? This issue isn’t new, but it’s going to keep coming up until some sort of solution is agreed upon concerning how to handle local laws on the internet. More importantly, you have to wonder why, if this is illegal in California, why the case is being brought by private citizens rather than, say, the state of California? If you go and look at the actual complaint (pdf file…) it turns out that this is a real stretch. The reason doesn’t point to the law, is because there isn’t a law the bans gambling ads in California. The lawyers don’t point to any law that actually make advertising of casinos illegal in California, but to laws that say gambling operations are illegal in California. From that, they extrapolate that if gambling is illegal, then advertising for casinos must be illegal. Of course, there are plenty of ads on both TV and highway billboards for casinos all around California, so it’s unlikely they have even the slightest bit of a case.

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