Is Advertising Online Gambling Illegal in the State of Washington?
I wished to create a website to advertise Online Gambling to persons living in jurisdictions where Online Gambling isn't illegal. Prior to creating the website, I did some research to find out if advertising Online Gambling via a website located in the U. S. is illegal. In short it appears that it isn't illegal, yet. Its sort of in the Grey-area at this time. TheFederal Communication Commission (FCC) is the regulatory body responsible for Internet communications.
As a new webmaster with a new Online Gambling website, I find this to be some what of a boon and a bane, which is addressed below. The F. C. C. is of course a Federal agency, thinking in that context I didn't consider the State level. Even though Federal laws and regulations supercede State and Local laws, regulations.
How did I come to think about Washington State laws, regulations, when in fact the F. C. C. is in charge of the Internet. Here's what happened!
On 7-7-05 I posted in a Gambling webmasters forum, requesting a 'Site review' and received some constructive advice on my website. Keep in mind that I began uploading site on 6-14-05 so the site had been on the internet for only three weeks. I wasn't receiving any traffic excepting myself and gambling webmasters from the forum and some affiliate managers to whose program I applied.
I had second thoughts about posting in a Gambling webmaster forum, thinking that if the Federal Government wanted to persecute or harass Gambling website owners residing in the (US), a Gambling webmasters forum would be a good place for them to stake-out, so to speak. Also this forum is an organization that deals with Gambling Casino merchants on behalf of Gambling website owners, lots of members.
Hoping to get in the big 3 Search engines I Checked my traffic Statistics, there wasn't much to look at. A section of the statistics page (Country) lists which Countries visitors are coming from. The Country listing looked like this on 7-8-05.
3 US Commercial
4 Non-Profit Organization
13 United Kingdom
on 7-9-05, Country had one additional entry, US Government, and looked like the following.
3 US Commercial
4 Non-Profit Organization
13 United Kingdom
14 US Government
Looking at the new entry 'US Government' first thing in the morning, my mind began swimming with 'what if's' and my stomach is feeling a little queasy, I couldn't help wondering if I were standing up, would my legs be shaking. Should I have avoided posting in the Gambling webmasters forum and hopefully 'fly under the radar' or is this simply a coincidence, am I just paranoid?
At 7am the coffee is still perking and with this eye-opener my mind is racing, my stomach unsettled. I needed to grab a cup of coffee and a cigarette and head out to the patio for a few moments of reflection. As I stood up and looked out the window directly in front of me, I saw an unmarked white police type cruiser with a plain-clothes driver very slowly cruising past my house.
Now the legs are shaky! my first thought is, should I get some of the dark Rum in the cupboard to fortify my coffee. No its much to early for Rum. On the patio I nervously drag on my cigarette and can only sip on the hot coffee. Cursing myself for not adding the Rum, to at least cool down the coffee. I needed a few quick gulps to replace the uneasy feeling in my stomach with something warm and pleasant.
Questioning the circumstances, a Gambling website, my research, the posting in the forum, 'US Government' visitor in Traffic logs, unmarked police car. Was this just a pair of coincidence's. That was definitely an unmarked car, the type law enforcement uses, not from the EPA or County employees checking their area out. Was the unmarked car federal or could the Feds have contacted local law enforcement to have them check out the website owners address.
I began to wonder if the 'unmarked cruiser' was the Washington State police. Then it dawned on me that even though the FCC is in charge of the Internet, perhaps the State of Washington has laws prohibiting, advertisement of Online Gambling by State residents. I better Check.
I loathe the thought of perhaps spending hours searching the Washington State website for information on, advertising Online Gambling. Well, maybe someone else has done that already, perhaps I should type in 'advertise online gambling Washington' into Yahoo search and hope to find something.
JackPot! the first listing is entitled: Washington State Gambling Commission - Internet/Online Gambling Questions. My luck is running now, nervously scanning the document I find just what I'm looking for.
Can I advertise gaming activities online?
State laws do not prevent the advertising of gaming activities online, as long as the subject of the advertisement is authorized gaming activities. However, other agencies, such as the Federal Communications Commission, may have statutes and regulations that apply. Any of the house-banked or tribal casinos, or bingo operators may advertise on the Internet; however, no one may advertise or solicit citizens of Washington State to wager online.
Well the news isn't bad, but is still basically in the Grey-area, relief. I started wondering if other Online Gambling webmasters located in the State of Washington, had anxious feelings or experiences similar to mine. Prompting me to submit this article with the related url's for them to peruse.
Above I mentioned that the current legal standing Grey-area situation, is some what a boon and a bane for Gambling portal webmasters. People from the U. S. A. inquire in forums about the legality of advertising Online Gambling, all the time.
Boon. This uncertainty keeps many potential Gambling webmasters out of Gambling affiliate marketing. Resulting in less competition for the rest of us, and very importantly keeps Gambling Merchant operators from reducing the compensation aspect of their programs, because of fewer affiliates marketing their program.
Bane. The other side is that the U. S. Government could decide to make advertising Online Gambling explicitly illegal at some time in the future. Thus necessitating Gambling portal webmasters to shut down their websites and lose all the many hours of work they invested in creating, maintaining their websites, not to mention lost income.
Below are the url's used for the search referred to above.
http://search. yahoo. com/search? ei=UTF-8&
http://www. wsgc. wa. gov/FAQ/InternetGamblingFAQ. htm
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