Online Gambling Regulation Around the World

The three big names in search engines and internet resources, Microsoft, Google and Yahoo have agreed to pay the US government a fine regarding their involvement in online gambling promotions. With the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, or UIGEA, the United States has decided to go after anyone that they deem accountable for online gambling at

They accused the three companies of promoting online gambling back to 1997, and they agreed to pay a total of 31.5 million to settle the charges. They were all accused of accepting payments from online gambling companies to advertise their sites.

Microsoft has to pay the lion’s share of the deal, with their settlement totaling $21 million. $4.5 million of that will go to the United States, and $7.5 million will go to the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children. They are also going to provide a marketing campaign aimed at children and young adults that warns them that online gambling is illegal and against the law. Microsoft did not admit fault in settling the case.

Google and Yahoo are paying significantly less than Microsoft, and neither one has admitted the allegations either. Google has to pay $3 million to the United States, and Yahoo has to pay $7.5 million. They have also agreed to fund online PSAs discouraging online gambling to all.

According to US Attorney Catherine Hanaway we have all suffered from the wrongdoings of the three companies. With their promoting illegal online behavior they have hurt us all. They could have been prosecuted under the Federal Wire Wager Act, but settled instead.

The World Trade Organization has announced that they are agreeing with Antigua in the fight for online gambling and that they are ordering $21 million sanction against the United States. The WTO had warned the US that with the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act that they could be getting themselves into trouble, but the US was too full of themselves to see that they were getting into some serious problems.

The WTO has ruled that the tiny Island of Antigua can now violate copyright protections on goods like films and music. This may not mean much to the US government, but for artists, filmmakers, authors, etc. this means a whole lot. They will be paying the price for the US’s refusal to reinstate online gambling in this country.

It also sets a scary precedent for the US, in that as a nation we have often times seen ourselves as untouchable, even indestructible. However, with the passing of the sanctions against us, we now see that this is no longer the case. It opens the door to other countries to bring suits against us as well, especially now that they know that the WTO will back them up.

Other countries could soon be getting the rights to violate intellectual property laws as well, and where will it stop? Probably not until the US decides to reverse the UIGEA and make online gambling legal again. With the US going after countries within our own borders for helping advertise online gambling, back before it was illegal, and people still participating in online gambling whenever they want, it would seem that they are in a rowboat without any oars.

However, the US is still blind to their own plight, and thus will not reverse the UIGEA. There are several bills that are hoping to make online gambling legal again by regulating it, so we can only hope that they come to their senses before more people are hurt by the sanctions.