Google and Yahoo Ban Gambling Ads

Gretchen Gallen
SILICON VALLEY – In what some industry analysts are saying could be a future trend among leading Internet companies, the world's biggest search engines, Google and Yahoo, have decided to stop featuring advertisements from online casinos.

While the decision came on the same day, both search engines made their announcements separately, and neither admitted to conceding to pressure from federal prosecutors trying to cut consumer ties to offshore gambling sites. The decision will affect all of Google's worldwide websites. Yahoo will focus only on U.S. sites, the company said.

The decision for Yahoo and Google to distance themselves from the increasingly controversial subject of Internet gambling comes on the heels of a landmark decision by the World Trade Organization (WTO) last week that the United States is creating an unfair trade barrier by trying to prohibit offshore Internet gambling.

Leading up to the WTO's decision, federal prosecutors claim that U.S.-based companies involved in the offshore gambling industry are "aiding and abetting" illegal operations. Last year subpoenas were issued to websites and various other businesses that run advertisements for online casinos.

The Bush administration is in the midst of fighting the WTO's decision, but in the meantime, offshore gambling continues to be a wildly popular pastime for cyberventurists.

There is some speculation that Google and Yahoo's decision will have a massive impact on the online gambling industry.