The U.S. Department of Justice is making it very clear to publishers that it will prosecute those who publish advertising for offshore gambling. Its attention has been drawn by recently published ads for betonsports.com. This is the section of the federal criminal code that applies to gambling information:
(a) Whoever being engaged in the business of betting or wagering knowingly uses a wire communication facility for the transmission in interstate or foreign commerce of bets or wagers or information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers on any sporting event or contest, or for the transmission of a wire communication which entitles the recipient to receive money or credit as a result of bets or wagers, or for information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.
(b) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the transmission in interstate or foreign commerce of information for use in news reporting of sporting events or contests, or for the transmission of information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers on a sporting event or contest from a State or foreign country where betting on that sporting event or contest is legal into a State or foreign country in which such betting is legal.
(Read the code here.)
The Justice Department has said that anyone who aids and abets offshore betting will be prosecuted as a principal. A principal is defined as:
(a) Whoever commits an offense against the United States or aids, abets, counsels, commands, induces or procures its commission, is punishable as a principal.
(b) Whoever willfully causes an act to be done which if directly performed by him or another would be an offense against the United States, is punishable as a principal.
(Read the code here.)
It looks as though they are serious about this. If you have any questions about publishing ads for offshore gambling — or other gambling ventures such as lotteries — please call the AAN Hotline at (202) 298-7210.
© Alice Neff Lucan 2004
Alice Neff Lucan provides confidential advice on newsroom issues through Newslaw™, a hotline provided by AAN exclusively for its members.