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Casino City Files Suit Against the U.S. Department of Justice

9 August 2004

Casino City, Inc., operator of, has today filed a suit against the US Department of Justice ("DOJ") to establish its First Amendment Right to advertise online sportsbooks and casinos.

The suit is in response to letters sent by the DOJ¹s Criminal Division in June 2003 to the National Association of Broadcasters ("NAB") and a number of newspaper and magazine publisher associations urging them to remind their members that they could be breaking the law if they run advertisements for online gambling operations.

This behaviour by the DOJ has been viewed by the online gambling industry as a blatant attempt at blackmail. By threatening broadcasters and publishers in this way (when the question of whether such advertising is legal or not remains to be tested) the DOJ has been able to enforce their prohibitionist stance by effectively forcing broadcasters and publishers to cease accepting online gambling advertising. The result? Effective enforcement without the cost of litigation, or the risk of the courts finding against this untested interpretation.

The industry as a whole has been suffering as a result but no-one to date had felt they were in a position to press for a test case. Casino City's particular circumstances stand it in a strong position to make the challenge.

Casino City is organised under the laws of the State of Louisiana and operates a collection of portal sites which disseminate information about land based and online casinos, casino-style games and sports betting. According to its Complaint, a portion of Casino City¹s revenues are derived from the sale and running of advertisements on its informational internet sites for lawful overseas companies that offer online casino or sports book gambling.

The DOJ has made it clear that in its opinion, that with the limited exception of licensed sportsbook operations in Nevada, the operation of both onshore and offshore sportsbooks and Internet gambling within the US is prohibited. The DOJ¹s letter to NAB states that "entities and individuals that accept and run .. (advertisements for such operations).. may be aiding and abetting these illegal activities", and warns that those that run advertisements could be found to have aided or abetted in the commission of a number of offences under the United States Code, (Sections 1084, 1952 and 1955 of Title 18). By virtue of Title 18, Section 2, the DOJ warned, they could be punished as principal violator.

Michael Corfman, CEO of Casino City is of a differing opinion, pointing out that there are numerous exceptions to the DOJ's blanket view, legal online horserace betting to name but one. Casino City believes that "the threatening actions taken by the DOJ violate its First Amendment rights" and in its Complaint "seeks a declaration as to its constitutional rights to engage in lawful commercial speech".

Further details,

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