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Advertisement of Online Casinos in US Magazines Still Illegal

Playing in online casinos is licensed in over 80 countries around the world, but in the United States, it's still considered an illegal activity, even though almost 80% of all online casinos players play from the United States. This is why almost all online casinos, located their operations offshore, which makes it harder for the US Justice Department to 'catch' them. Despite the fact that these offshore online casinos fall outside the US laws, it is still illegal for them to advertise in media in the United States.

This doesn’t seem to stop many online casinos from still trying to run their ads in US magazines and papers. The US is trying to stop this from happening by making the magazines realize that they are participating in the illegal activities of the online casinos if they place any ads, which makes them responsible and liable for punishment.

To set an example, the US Justice Department, decided to punish Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. It leaked in the press that Allen's Sporting News, made a $7.2 million settlement with the feds to be able to promote offshore online casinos by running advertisements in its magazine, radio network and website. According to the Justice Department, this agreement ran for three years. In the dubious settlement, Sporting News didn't admitted or denied to be legally liable.

The US Attorney's office in St. Louis, Missouri, has been trying to win the battle against the advertisement of online casinos in the US for the past several years, with some small successes. In June 2003, The Justice Department sent letters to individual magazines plus a letter to the Magazine Publishers of America, reminding them, once again, that publishing ads of online casinos is illegal. This action was reasonably successful, and many media companies got scared, and stopped the advertisements.

Sporting News is not the first media company that has been seriously inspected on grounds of publishing illegal ads of online casinos, but it is the first magazine that was fined on these grounds. The Sporting News paid a $4.2 million fine Thursday and will make up for the remaining $3 million with a three-year series of public service ads.

A unit of Hearst, Esquire, places many ads of offshore online casinos in April, May and June last year. However, after the pressure of the FBI, Esquire decided to stop running any more ads. Another media company that ran adds for online casinos for a while is Trader Monthly. The spokesperson of the US Attorney's office didn't want to confirm or deny if there were any other media companies under investigation.

A spokesperson from Esquire stated that the company is no longer under investigation, because it hasn't run any advertisements of online casinos, since June last year.

The US Attorney Catherine Hanaway from St. Louis, claims that the media companies who keep placing ads of online casinos, despite the illegality of the issue, need to be taught a lesson.



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