|A further development in the current assault the US Federal Government is making against US companies who may be working in association with offshore internet gambling sites. Following actions such as the seizing of revenue from Discovery Networks in April, Electronic Arts have made the decision to no longer advertise any internet sites linked to gambling or casinos. |
The funds seized from Discovery were made from an advertising contract they had with an offshore gambling site, and Jeffrey Brown, a spokesman for Electronic Arts has explained this recent decision by saying, “We do not believe that running the advertisements is illegal. We were just looking down the road and thought this could become a policy and legal problem for us”.
The first move showing this change in company policy for Electronic Arts was to cancel a contract they had formed with a South African based company, Forward Slash, to advertise its online casinos. There had been no direct legal pressure to do so, as Electronic has not been under any form of investigation and had no reason to believe they would become so. The move is entirely in anticipation of possible future difficulties in light of the government’s stance on involvement with off shore internet gambling sites. Jeffery Brown went on to explain; “We decided the small revenue stream didn’t justify the potential problem”.
Although legal lines on this subject are still blurred, and it is yet to be proven that companies who associate with offshore gambling companies can be prosecuted for aiding and abetting, this move by Electronic Arts does signify that government pressure is succeeding regardless of the unresolved legal status. Lawrence G Walters, who works as a lawyer representing American companies who do advertise the offshore casinos sites which are the cause of so much debate comments: “The chilling effect is working…(companies) are buckling under pressure and threats of prosecution and litigation”.
There is a suspicion that despite the ongoing debate on the actual legalities of such threats of prosecution, the effect that the government is currently having on the US associates of the online gambling industry (an activity which is illegal in America) may indeed result in a drop in US participants in the games hosted in other countries, simply as a result of decreased advertising, should moves such as this made by Electronic Arts spread throughout other US media companies.