12|21|2007 10:34 am EDT
The three largest internet companies â€“ Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo â€“ have agreed to pay $31.5 million to settle federal civil allegations claiming that they took ads for online gambling, which is illegal in the United States.
The U.S. has closely monitored online gambling for a long time and kept a close eye on any companies looking to expose it’s citizens to the multi-billion dollar industry.
By reaching a huge settlement with the trio of web giants, they are able to show others that online gambling will not be tolerated in America – where over $6 billion a year is spent in the industry (going against the Federal Wire Wager Act and other federal laws).
While the fine will hardly make a dent on either Google, Microsoft, or Yahoo, it is certainly large enough to scare smaller companies from supporting similar activity.
The market for online gambling could be a huge financially if it was ever legalized, but it doesnâ€™t seem like that time will come too soon.
Last year, congress made it illegal for banks and credit card companies to make payments to Internet gambling sites and earlier this week the U.S. reached a deal with the European Union, Japan, and Canada to keep its Internet gambling market closed to foreign businesses, although it is still continuing talks with India, Antigua and Barbuda, Macau, and Costa Rica.