Thursday, January 26, 2006

Gamble Doesn't Pay Off for Sporting News

A coming invasion of your privacy? You might want to give it some hard thought if you are one of the millions of Americans who gamble over the Internet. The U.S. Department of Justice announced it had accepted a settlement from the Sporting News, which it had accused of promoting Internet gambling by publishing advertisements for online gambling sites. The Sporting News will pay a hefty fine of $4.2 million and complete a three-year public service campaign, valued at $3 million, to educate people about illegal Internet betting. This comes after word that the Feds want Google to turn over information from its database. Google says it will fight the order. The settlement is the latest in the ongoing campaign led by the DOJ, which two years ago decided publishers and broadcasters are guilty of promoting and profiting from Internet gambling by running ads for it. The DOJ reportedly has reached settlements with several American media companies. An official with the DOJ said prosecutors had warned publishers that their activities were analogous to advertising on behalf of drug dealers and child pornographers. This campaign comes despite the fact that many of Wall Street's largest investment firms have loaded up on Internet casino stocks. Blue chip houses like Goldman Sachs, Fedelity and Merrill Lynch now hold hundreds of millions of shares of online casinos and betting sites.

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