Yesterday, according to press reports, Federal agents arrested the CEO of BetOnSports.com, an on-line sports gambling site. The reports state that others involved with this website were indicted, and those involved in companies which were in charge of promotion of this site were also arrested. Indications are that this may just be the beginning of a Federal crackdown on Internet gambling.
Broadcasters are well aware of Internet gaming sites, as many of these sites have tried to entice radio and television stations to run advertising to promote the sites. Most stations have wisely stayed away from any promotion of actual gaming sites. However, the promotion of the so-called "dot-net" sites, i.e. sites with URLs identical to the gaming site, but ending in ".net" instead of ".com." The dot-net sites have claimed to broadcasters that they are legal because they do not accept bets, instead featuring instructions on how to play various games and allowing people to play the game with free credits assigned by the site.
We have always warned broadcasters to be wary of such advertising. If the broadcaster decides to accept the "dot net" ads, it should do so only after being very careful to be absolutely sure that these sites do not promote gambling – that they are free of links to the associated gambling site and other promotion for those sites. With the government arresting people for promoting gambling sites, extra caution about this advertising is warranted.