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Old 08-19-2004   #1
dannysullivan
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Gambling Ads On Search Sites

A lawsuit has been filed over gambling ads showing up on major search sites with California. This follows Yahoo and Google themselves having already established guidelines that are supposed to keep online gambling ads out of their listings, after apparent pressure from the US government. Nevertheless, such ads still appear. Another lawsuit has also been filed claiming First Amendment rights should protect ads for online gambling.

My SearchDay story today, Lawsuit Filed Over Search & Gambling Ads, recaps some of the issues and actions above. We've also had some limited discussion in these threads:In this thread, how about a discussion on the issue overall. Should the search engines be taking such ads? Should they not? And if they are going to have policies, do you find those policies not being honored?

Last edited by dannysullivan : 08-19-2004 at 08:09 AM.
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Old 08-19-2004   #2
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Well seeing that gambling is illegal except for certain areas such as Vegas, Indian reservations, etc., they probably are better NOT to show them (unless they can figure out someway to determine exactly where the searcher is standing at the time they conduct their search - can anyone say Big Brother).

Other than that, better to be safe than sorry IMO. Search engines such as Google and Overture are making plenty of money without catering to gambling sites. Why risk a lawsuit?

Now to look at it from another angle. Here in Arizona, we have casinos but only on Indian reservations. However, there are billboards advertising those casinos on non-Indian land, radio spots, television commercials, etc. So we have widespread advertising, but for casinos that are legally allowed to exist.

So with this in mind, should search engines then be able to run ads for casinos or gambling venues that are operating within legal rights? Is it worthwhile for them to try to police such a policy?
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Old 08-19-2004   #3
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IMHO, its a political government issue at this point. should the politicians put a cap on this? I dont think so, this would just be a start for banning anything that the "morality" squad doesnt agree with . I'm sure as soon as you see the morality in the US government change you'll will see Google, and Overture back it.
The publishers themselves are the true ones making money on this PPC model with sky rocketing prices, they probally will hop back on it as soon as it settles down. Online casino ad buyings account for millions of dollars I cant see the publishers just saying" oh well"
The scariest part about this is that it's just a start as soon as they ban one there will be more to follow

my 2 cents

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Old 08-19-2004   #4
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Now to look at it from another angle. Here in Arizona, we have casinos but only on Indian reservations. However, there are billboards advertising those casinos on non-Indian land, radio spots, television commercials, etc. So we have widespread advertising, but for casinos that are legally allowed to exist.
The pretty much sums up the flaw in the lawsuit. Legal Indian casinos run adds that air or show in places where gambling is NOT legal, in hopes of bringing people in. I think Vegas does that quite a effectively as well. You'll see LV ads in many states where gambling is not allowed.

I say the lawsuit gets squashed, but then there are some pretty dumb-ass judges in CA!

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Old 08-19-2004   #5
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IMHO i believe the online gambling ad spending will be back with full force.This is good.
They managed to survive the "visa" and "mastercard" billing problems and BTW that issue has now just hitting adult websites real hard right now, This break in online advertising is quiet a good idea from another angle, that is, it may eventually weed out some of the less then ethical affiliates that are just soaking the main publishers

cheers

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Old 08-20-2004   #6
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The thing of it is gambling in most states is still illegal. The states that make a huge profit from it are seeing drops in their income due to online gambling. The lobbyists are not out for online as they are for legal places that comp legislators and insure their futures.
This form of gambling cannot be taxed, operates in many cases offshore and is only growing. Hey they even talk about the ones who qualify for the World Series of Poker and other tournaments.. that publicity is free...
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Old 08-20-2004   #7
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Originally Posted by AussieWebmaster
Hey they even talk about the ones who qualify for the World Series of Poker and other tournaments.. that publicity is free...
But dont you think the past advertising online casinos have done, has had an impact already to boost the interest in that industry such as poker, online casinos account for millions and millions of dollars and have given gambling a new light. The WSOP would not have the weight that it does now if it was for online casinos. Today, tier 1 online casinos (regulated as land based) which can be counted on one hand, already are governed through the roof. Unfortunately it seems like this issue will come down to "free speech" for both sides to debate.

Like i said earlier, just the fact of the ban on casino advertising will open the door for any other ban down the road to come and as we have all seen now with the Google IPO capitalism is on a come back



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Old 08-20-2004   #8
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I say the lawsuit gets squashed, but then there are some pretty dumb-ass judges in CA!
On behalf of my fellow Californians, I must moderate your comment to remind there are dumb-ass judges everywhere (and lots of smart ones, as well).
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Old 08-20-2004   #9
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As a former Californian, I must concede your point. It was an easy cheap shot to take as CA judges have been mane news quite a few times in the past year. But yep, lots of bad judges in every state, and as for the good ones, we really don't hear much about them, unfortunately.

It will be interesting to see what happens on this lawsuite, however. The more I think about it, if it does not get quashed, it may open the door for regulation of online gambling. I have mixed feelings on regulating anything on the internet. Some things must be, some things shouldn't be.
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Old 08-20-2004   #10
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Originally Posted by dannysullivan
On behalf of my fellow Californians, I must moderate your comment to remind there are dumb-ass judges everywhere (and lots of smart ones, as well).
Danny I thought you were officially now an ex-pat English resident.
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Old 08-20-2004   #11
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Hey Danny, since you are located in the U.K can you put some light behind the UK/European PPC industry over there. Currently we used alot of it , due to regulations and we are seeing some great conversions.I would be interested in finding out anything you can share currently on that issue


cheers

Thanks for a great thread

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Old 08-21-2004   #12
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I am not managing any gambling sites, but from a quick look at Google it appears that thy show no AdWords for gambling keywords to danes (I'm in Denmark).

According to local Danish laws it is ilegal to market og help market any gambling sites beside the official state lotteries and betting. So, it appears that Google are respecting those laws here.
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Old 08-21-2004   #13
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Originally Posted by Mikkel deMib Svendsen
So, it appears that Google are respecting those laws here.
Gambling itself (ouside of indian casinos) is illegal in CA, however advertising for casino's is NOT. I may be wrong about that, so somebody correct me if I am. To me it appears that a couple of sue-happy bozos gambled, lost money, and want to blame the advertisers rather than themselves.

$10 says that if they lose there will be another internet related lawsuite filed by the same guys within a year.
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Old 08-21-2004   #14
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Originally Posted by St0n3y
Gambling itself (ouside of indian casinos) is illegal in CA, however advertising for casino's is NOT. .
Great post ston3y, along that train of though....I'm sure there are a few "no liquor or dry counties" in the USA.... but Im sure a "BUD" commercial or 2 makes it's way to the local area television channels

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Old 08-21-2004   #15
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There are a couple of problems with all this - locality.

You can go almost anywhere in the world and find different laws. For example, in the old Taliban controlled Afghanistan, it was illegal to show a human being in a photograph - so that picture of my smiling face on my website was clearly illegal. Different countries have different laws regarding nudity and age of consent, which affects the adult industry. When I was in the Turks and Caicos Islands, I discovered that it was illegal for locals (belongers) to gamble, but ok for "ex-pats". So it was based on citizenship, rather than location.

So it's fairly difficult to comply with laws at the best of times. Even if you restrict certain results in certain countries, it's extremely easy to get around it from a user standpoint (Megaproxy, anyone?).

The most clear way of doing it is the fact that a company has to obey the laws of the jurisdiction that company is in. Which would be California, and depending on other things, other offices as well :http://www.google.com/corporate/address.html

Which would be interesting from a compliance viewpoint. I don't envy their legal dept.

So regardless of my local laws, Google would have to start by obeying IT'S local laws, then move out from there. And it can only restrict itself more, not use other jurisdictions to be able to disobey Federal and CA law.

So I guess the question is: What is CA law on this matter? That would be the most clear starting point.

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Old 08-21-2004   #16
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Originally Posted by mcanerin
So I guess the question is: What is CA law on this matter? That would be the most clear starting point.

Ian
Hello, I am not a resident of CA nor do I live in the US, the closest I could come to find the info was at http://www.gambling-law-us.com/State-Laws/California/

funny thing though when i did a search at Google for :

california law online gambling

This was the following return in the first position :

http://www.google.com/search?q=california+law+online+gambling&hl=en&lr=& ie=UTF-8&start=0&sa=N

Something like:

GAMBLING ONLINE - casino gambling - internet gambling online
... gambling gambling history california gambling gambling online ... casino gambling casino
online gambling game video ... gambling gambling net gambling law free casino ...
onlineweb.host.sk/casinocasinos/onlinegambling.html - 53k

Now that spamming should be illegal!



cheers

Wc

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Old 08-21-2004   #17
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There are legal card houses in California... though technically not casinos as the house is only the conduit at a fee... the gambling is between the punters.
And in many states - such as New York - where there are no casinos it is legal to play poker so long as the 'house' is not making a profit... so private games etc. are allowed... so in many cases online poker would be legal.
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Old 08-21-2004   #18
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Originally Posted by AussieWebmaster
New York - where there are no casinos it is legal to play poker so long as the 'house' is not making a profit... so in many cases online poker would be legal.
I agree Aussie, but the problem can and will lie in some peoples eyes that...."if the online casino being the "house, didnt make a profit, there would be no online casinos to play" The majority of Tier 1 online casinos convert that cash right back into advertising dollars to get more sign-ups, the real big money is seen in the end or over a period they are not advertising. But within that industry advertising always continues to roll along.

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Old 08-21-2004   #19
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Without being a lawyer, I do know that the marketing laws, which the anti-marketing laws on gambling in Denmark is part of, is targeting anyone that market to Danish (or European) people - no matter where they are. Off course, if you do not have any valuables here it is probably very limited what they can do you, but it actually gives 6 month in prisson now. So at least, don't go on vacation here if they grab you - too "expensive" to be any fun
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Old 08-21-2004   #20
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Originally Posted by Mikkel deMib Svendsen
if you do not have any valuables here it is probably very limited what they can do you, but it actually gives 6 month in prisson now.
Jailing people for advertising thats scary....feels like a new version of
"THX-1138 " coming along

Cheers

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