David Carruthers, CEO of BetOnSports.com, admitted he was surprised this week when he heard from officials with the Howard Stern radio show informing him they would no longer be accepting advertising from online casinos and sports books.
Despite the rash decision from one of America's highest rated radio shows, Carruthers is confident that his company will eventually be allowed back on the airwaves to advertise its product.
"I am very confident this will resolve itself in our favor," he said. "I firmly believe that this is a legitimate business and we have the right to be here and advertise our services to our customers."
Operators were informed this week that the show would no longer be accepting advertisements from the industry. Two of the leading sites in the industry, Golden Palace online casino and BetOnSports.com, were active advertisers to the show.
Carruthers said there was no indication as to why the sudden move was made, but he guessed it was related to an ongoing Grand Jury investigation in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Missouri.
Earlier this month court officials subpoenaed a host of portal operators, radio stations, print publications and other media outlets that accept advertising from the interactive gaming industry.
The subpoenas asked the media outlets for any contact information they might have for any Internet gambling client and also informed them that they could be in violation of the law by carrying the ads, a claim many legal experts disagree with.
Carruthers echoed those sentiments and pointed to a Supreme Court case that allows for casinos in states where the activity is legal to be advertised in states where gambling is illegal.
Not to mention the freedom of speech argument that Carruthers and other operators are quick to point out.
"Clearly they are infringing on our First Amendment rights," he said. "We have hired special legal counsel to help us with this specific situation and I am confident that it will all get worked out in our favor eventually."
In the meantime Carruthers said he would be appearing before the Board of Directors of Viacom, the parent company that oversees the syndication of the Howard Stern radio show.
Although the radio advertisements have been pulled, it won't stop BetOnSports from continuing what is arguably the most aggressive marketing campaign in the industry.
Last year the site bought a luxury touring bus that was decked out with a special paint scheme with the BoS logo. The bus was used to tour the country and make appearances at tailgating parties before college and pro football games.
The campaign was so successful that Carruthers and his staff bought an additional bus and expanded the program this season. Both buses are in the middle of their tours and Carruthers said the publicity and promotional value achieved from the buses could offset any loss of business that could potentially come from losing the radio ads.
BoS also advertises extensively with billboards, and this month is on the side of 250 New York City buses.
"It is too early to assess the impact of this surprise action," he said. "I will say that business has been meeting and beating our expectations that we set for this season."
The Worst case scenario for Carruthers would be getting cut off from Howard Stern and potentially other national shows, but even then he is certain his site could get the word out to its customers.
"I am confident that we will break new ground in harvesting new customers," he said. "It is disappointing to our customers who have listened to the show for the last 18 months that they will no longer be able to hear about special promotions but there are plenty of other avenues for us."
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