Desktop Conference: The Casino City Test Case

22 November 2004

Over one year ago the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) issued what it calls a public service letter to various media outlets, informing them that it believes interactive gaming to be an illegal activity. The letter also stated that advertising for such services is tantamount to aiding and abetting an illegal activity. Weeks after the public service letter were received, the DOJ office operating outside St. Louis began issuing subpoenas to media advertisers and other companies that do business with offshore gambling operators. The result of the letters and subpoenas has been what legal experts call a chilling effect, with media agencies unwilling to place ads for online gambling companies for fear that they could face prosecution.

Casino City, a Louisiana-based company with an Internet portal that provides a database of information for traditional and online gambling, in August 2004 stood up to challenge the legality of the DOJ's approach to stifling I-gaming ads. The company is seeking a declaration as to whether the DOJ's threat of charging advertisers with aiding and abetting is consistent with the U.S. Freedom of Speech Amendment.

The case will no doubt have a profound impact on the way advertising for online gambling services will be conducted in the United States for years to come. The most recent motion, a memorandum addressing the government's response to the original complaint, was filed by Casino City on Nov. 19.

In this exclusive audio interview, Patrick O'Brien, a lawyer for the plaintiff, discusses the case in this audio interview with IGN Publisher Sue Schneider.

Click here to listen to the O'Brien interview.