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  1. #1
    whoiscasino.com is offline New Member
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    Default Illegal Advertising?

    Hello all,

    I have been studying the online gaming industry and collecting data for a couple of informational resources (portals) that I have been wanting to build for some time.

    I recently found an article about portal owners in the U.S. getting subpoenaed for 'illegal advertising' in the gaming industry.

    I found the article in question here:
    http://www.casinomeister.com/news/ja...html#SUBPOENAS

    This is obviously a concern to any gaming portal webmaster. As a Canadian I am not so much concerned about American laws, but I must be mindful of Canadian Laws, should something like this happen in Canada.

    This article
    http://www.gamblinglawupdate.com/arc...ber%202003.pdf

    mentions that portal owners "could be in violation of the law by accepting such ads, which could open media outlets to criminal charges of aiding and abetting".

    I suspect that if Canada started issuing subpoenas to webmasters then similar justification might be used.

    Have any of these website portals been named specifically? If so, what exactly was it that caught the attention of law enforcement?

    I decided a while back that I would not use any affiliate programs for my sites. For most webmasters here that probably sounds odd, but I believe that the biggest violation of the law for portal owners is in using affiliate programs. The reason is that most casino affiliate programs that I have seen are based on player deposits. That is, the more the player spends the more money you make. In Canada profiting from gambling is illegal.

    I decided that my approach would be to sell banners for a flat fee. After hearing about web portals being subpoenaed for advertising, I am wondering what the best approach is.

    Have any Canadians ever been charged with advertising internet gambling, and if so, what were the circumstances?

    I know of only one instance of Canadians being charged with gambling advertising; that article is here:
    http://www.cbc.ca/storyview/CBC/2000...wadmedia000128

    The company mentioned was displaying posters in bars with betting URL's on them, which obviously is intended to target Canadians. Gambling in Canada anywhere other than Government-licensed casinos is illegal. I think that enticing Canadians to gamble (online) is illegal, which is why these guys received a visit from law enforcement.

    Ironically, Canada's largest ISP - sympatico.ca - regularily rotates onlie casino banners on their front page. I have seen banners from Casino On Net and Golden Palace many times stating "Win Real Money - Click Here' and the like. Many other Canadian websites host casino banners, and Canada is home to some of the largest casino software and online gambling marketing firms in the world. It really doesn't make sense for law enforcement to come down on little portal owners, but I am no lawyer.

    To advertise casinos on a portal then, I am thinking that having advertising banners from only casinos who offer free games and that don't entice people to place bets online (by saying 'win real money', '10% bonus', etc. would be okay.

    I am interested in hearing experiences and opinions from other webmasters.

    Thanks in advance,

    Wayne

  2. #2
    VPJunkie is offline Private Member
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    It's pretty clear from your post that you've been reading quite a bit at the CasinoMeister forum, and in particular, Mary's viewpoints in this area. It might interest you to know that Mary is not a portal owner or in this industry in any way, nor is she an expert on any of the subjects regarding our industry she purports herself to be. In addition to that, she attempted to get GPWA (and one of my personal sites) shutdown a few weeks ago out of pure malice.

    Unfortunately, there are two main camps of practice when it comes to marketing online casinos; the "Media Sellers", who sell advertising to casinos, and the "Affiliates" who sell casinos on a commission basis, based on performance. These two camps are at odds with each other, so you'll hear different opinions based on where you are.

    At the moment, there is no Federal law in the US that makes advertising online casinos, or even online gambling by the consumer, illegal. (There are a few states that have made online gambling by the consumer illegal, tho.) Sportsbooks, however, fall into a more gray area.

    There is a lot of "posturing" going on by some people, but until a Federal law is enacted, that's all it is. In the case where the portal owner's records were subpeonaed, it's widely believed they were looking for information only. I haven't heard any more follow up to that story, either.

    Personally, I've worked in sales & marketing almost my entire adult life (I'm 47), and I've always worked on commission - that's what I do now. I sell the casino to the customer - what the casino does with that customer is entirely up to them. When I worked in the mortgage industry, I sold mortgages to customers, then to the banks. I made a commission based on the amount of the loan, and was paid by the bank - does that mean I was the lender, also? No, according to the US Federal Government.

    In addition to that, we have the Freedom of Speech act here in the US, which guarantees us the right to say and print whatever we want. This issue may go to court at some point, and our rights under the Freedom of Speech is what will be challenged. I believe the Porn industry was tested in the same way a few years ago, and won.

    In addition to that, does the US presume that it has the authority to dictate what I market to the world, in countries where gambling is legal everywhere? How do they propose to determine where I market, or what audience my site reaches?

    These are the issues facing the US Gov't when it comes to online gambling, which is why they've been unable to reach a legislative consensus up to this point. Until they're able to do that, nothing I do is illegal. And with recent developments, it looks like they may be moving towards regulation and taxation, rather than prohibition, which we're in favor of.

  3. #3
    whoiscasino.com is offline New Member
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    Thank you for the quick reply!

    > you've been reading quite a bit at the CasinoMeister forum

    Yes I have spent some time sifting through info at casinomeister. It is one of the better casino portals in my opinion. It has what most other portals are lacking: content (defined as useful information, not text on a page). Unfortunately most portals are merely banner farms riddled with pop-up windows, click-through pages, phony top 10 lists, email harvesters, and scumware. And many are owned (anonymously) by actual casino companies.

    > Mary is not a portal owner or in this industry in any way

    I have no idea who Mary is or what her opinions are. I don't think i've seen the forum - i'll have to check it out. Sounds interesting!

    >does the US presume that it has the authority to dictate what I market to the world

    I understand, and agree that one should be able to market services where they are legal, using a global tool such as the Internet. At the same time though I don't want to be standing across the river giving the bird to the Government or the Law. Bad karma....

    I have a couple of years experience doing SEO work for casinos but I am new at being an independent casino webmaster. My main concern is that I don't want to put up a casino site with banners and have the mounties kick in the door a few months later screaming 'racketeering! proceeds of crime! Aiding and abetting!".

    > There are two main camps of practice.. Affiliates and Media Sellers

    Do casinos generally encourage affiliate programs over paid advertising? Which casinos are most likely to be 'media sellers'.

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    VPJunkie is offline Private Member
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    Unfortunately most portals are merely banner farms riddled with pop-up windows, click-through pages, phony top 10 lists, email harvesters, and scumware. And many are owned (anonymously) by actual casino companies.
    That is a very offensive statement and is categorically untrue - but it is CasinoMeister's opinion. Take a trip throught the GPWA Showcase of Sites - https://www.gpwa.org/members/members1.htm - and you'll see differently.

    I have no idea who Mary is or what her opinions are.
    If you've spent the amount of time you say you have at Meister's, this can't be true - she has her own forum and is a regular poster there. In addition to that, the opinions you stated in your original post all originated with her over the last year or so.

    Do casinos generally encourage affiliate programs over paid advertising? Which casinos are most likely to be 'media sellers'.
    "Media Sellers" are the sites like Meister's. Affiliate marketing is generally much more cost effective for the casinos because we don't get paid until we've produced.

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    whoiscasino.com is offline New Member
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    First off I'd like to apologize if i've offended anyone here. That was not my intention at all. In fact, the reason that I posted my questions here is because the GPWA appears to be a decent resource for gambling webmasters. As such, I believe that the owners of the best independently owned portals would be members here. And yes, there are some good sites in your member listings. Also, I really like the GPWA logo & graphics. Very pretty and easy on the eyes. Good navigation too!

    However I will stand by what I said: Most casino portals are banner farms, or junk mail websites. Anyone who has ever typed in 'online casino' 'online gambling' or any other combination of gaming keywords into their favorite search engine knows what I am talking about. But I am not going to argue that; opinions vary.

    Second, I will repeat what I said in my original post: I have no idea who Mary is or what her opinions are. I was not lying, and I am offended that you would suggest otherwise.

    If her questions/comments/posts are similar to mine (or mine to hers) then so be it. I'm sure that many newbie webmasters have many of the same questions and concerns that I do.

    Third, I didn't say that I was spending lots of time at casinomeisters.com - you said that. Yes, I have been to the site a few times and spent hours reading the information there. But as of yet I have not been to their forum. Most of the research that I have done has been at websites with content on the pages, news articles, whois lookups, and the like. I don't usually spend a lot of time in chat forums.

    Mary is not a portal owner or in this industry in any way, nor is she an expert on any of the subjects regarding our industry she purports herself to be
    Well I really don't know. But if she has her own forum in an established gambling portal and has been posting for at least a year like you said then i'm willing to bet that she does in fact know something of the industry (and is indeed a part of it!). It would appear that you and Mary know eachother personally and that there may be some bad blood between you two. That would explain your defensive behaviour and your hostility toward Casinomeister and Mary.

    I am not here to ignite the flames of hell. I just want a few questions answered, and maybe generate some discussion on what I consider important issues, to the benefit of all gambling webmasters.

  6. #6
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    <-- Edited for content by Casinodudes -->
    Regards,
    J

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    Default Re: Illegal Advertising?

    Quote Originally Posted by whoiscasino.com
    .....I decided a while back that I would not use any affiliate programs for my sites.
    ...I decided that my approach would be to sell banners for a flat fee. ...


    Wayne
    My guess is that you intend to invest in advertising and secure consistent traffic, as well as building a mailing list of several thousand before soliciting for advertising fees.

    I just can't see you putting up a site today, and getting a fee from casinos to show their banners to the public, without some sort of track record to present. No one is going to throw money at you simply because you decided to put up a site, no matter how good you think it is.

    Media Sellers have established themselves and can (to a certain extent) sell ads based on their history. But, in today's market, even the media sellers are not immune from the ebb and flow of competitive advertsising.

    What Cindy said is true: Affiliates are much more cost-effective for casinos, since payment is only made for performance, not on the prospect of performance. Your rationale is flawed, and assumes that you can con someone into paying you for what may never produce a dime of revenue, sight unseen.
    Amateur
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    VPJunkie is offline Private Member
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    What Amateur says is correct. Hell, even some Affiliate programs won't take you until you've proven yourself. Owning a portal and marketing online casinos is a viciously competitive business and you constantly have to prove your ability to produce.

    As to this -
    It would appear that you and Mary know eachother personally and that there may be some bad blood between you two. That would explain your defensive behaviour and your hostility toward Casinomeister and Mary.
    Mary and I have never met or talked, and don't know each other personally. Given the fact that she just tried to shut down GPWA and my primary portal, I'd say there's some bad blood, somewhere.

  9. #9
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    As Amateur said, it is probably not a sound business plan to assume that you are going to be able to make a living purely from advertising sales, particularly as a new portal - unless you have significant amounts of capital and/or a proven track record in the business. It is probably better to host your sites offshore and stick to the traditional revenue sharing options if you are looking to make an income from your site. Im not sure about the specific laws in Canada, but as a safeguard measure I would suggest hosting in another location. As you said yourself it makes no sense for the authorities to go after the little guys.

    My take on the whole subject - yeah I could get squashed by a juggernaut tomorrow but that sure as hell aint gonna stop me crossing roads If you want something bad enough in life, you just have to stick your neck out occasionally.

  10. #10
    whoiscasino.com is offline New Member
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    Thank you for all of the replies!

    My intention is to sell advertising for a flat fee. I realize that nobody will buy advertising until my site has generated significant traffic. That is why content is king.

    Legalities aside, some other reasons that I believe affiliate programs are a bad idea:

    Banner images are usually hosted on another server. This is so the casinos can track your click-throughs. Loading time is a factor, and if that server is busy then your images won't load, your site looks like crap and nobody will click on your banners.

    Another important factor is that your site will take a loss in the search engine rankings - or at least not get extra points for the images and links - as they are not a part of your website.

    And with the amount of scumware/spyware/malware/viruses/worms floating around the net, more and more people are employing ad-blocking software, so they will never see your ad banners, much less click on them.

    Affiliate banners also have ugly URL's. Some people will not click on images if they can see that the URL is http://www.clickherecasino.com?affid...te=54&code=ABC. They are afraid of being barraged with pop-up windows.

    Some people will click on banners though, and some webmasters are making money from it. Great for them; i'm going to try something a little different.

    Your rationale is flawed, and assumes that you can con someone into paying you for what may never produce

    My rational is not flawed, it is just not the same as yours. Nor do I believe that I can 'con' anyone into anything. I am not dishonest and I resent you suggesting that. There are plenty of cons in the casino biz but I certainly am not one of them.

  11. #11
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    Banner images are usually hosted on another server. This is so the casinos can track your click-throughs. Loading time is a factor, and if that server is busy then your images won't load, your site looks like crap and nobody will click on your banners.

    Another important factor is that your site will take a loss in the search engine rankings - or at least not get extra points for the images and links - as they are not a part of your website.
    The majority of the programs give you the option of hosting the banners yourself. You put in your own "alt" tag, which should help your rankings, not hurt them.

    Affiliate banners also have ugly URL's. Some people will not click on images if they can see that the URL is http://www.clickherecasino.com?affid...te=54&code=ABC. They are afraid of being barraged with pop-up windows.
    You can use a mouseover code to hide the actual URL from your visitor. And even with a media buy, they use tracking URLs.

    And with the amount of scumware/spyware/malware/viruses/worms floating around the net, more and more people are employing ad-blocking software, so they will never see your ad banners, much less click on them.
    First you sat they are afraid of being barraged with pop-up windows. If they have ad-blocking software, they will not be barraged with pop-up windows. Me thinks you are confused.
    Randall Ashby (Randy)

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    Whoiscasino? I'm quite curious as to what your point in posting here is?

    We're answering your questions, but you're arguing with us and insulting us, quoting a lot of wrong information.

    You've been registered here since Sept. of 2003, yet never posted until now; and you've owned your domain - www.whoiscasino.com - since 2001 - (a quite ugly site, I might add), yet you've said "you're thinking about putting up a site".

    I'm truly wondering what your motivation is for posting now, and in this manner? I don't intend to allow someone to post simply to aggravate my members.

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    Quote Originally Posted by whoiscasino.com
    ...I am not dishonest and I resent you suggesting that. There are plenty of cons in the casino biz but I certainly am not one of them.
    Actually, you appear to be quite dishonest. You say one thing, while your posts say another. Is that not dishonest? Honesty is honesty, regardless of the topic. If you try to con us, who have nothing material to gain from answering your questions, how much more dishonest would you be where money is involved.

    Unlesss you simply want to spend money to inform players, the purpose of a gambling portal is to make money. The purpose of a casino is to make money. What is your purpose, both in posting here and in offering a gambling portal?

    Another thing is that you say, "content is king", but the "king" is not "all". You can have the most beautiful site on the net, full of great content, but if no one sees it, you still have nothing. SEO and linking are critical to the success of any website. "Internet" involves "internetworking" which is the basis of everything. Clicking a link is the critical issue.

    Everything you do is geared toward someone clicking links on your site, no matter what kind of site it is.

    Your business model has a number of flaws. When Gambling.com, Casinomeister and Gonegambling went up, there was very little competition. Casinos had to be on those sites to get exposure. They were, in essence, "held hostage" to the whims of those webmasters.

    But, times have changed considerably! What worked yesterday, and was a success then, may not be so viable anymore, especially for someone without name recognition. That takes time and effort and expense. Knowledge and skills. You're here asking us questions, that you then answer yourself. Your answers let me know you don't yet have the knowledge or skills required to make a successful site.

    Either you want to be successful, or you don't. If you don't, why are you here?
    Amateur
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    Quote Originally Posted by whoiscasino.com
    ...I resent you suggesting that....
    One other thing I want to mention. RESENTMENTS WILL KILL YOU!! Literally. Resenting things other people say and do will sap your energy, and given enough energy, will force you to do things that are unwise and unethical.

    Work on healing yourself and avoiding actions based on resentments.
    Amateur
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    whoiscasino.com is offline New Member
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    I'm truly wondering what your motivation is for posting now, and in this manner? I don't intend to allow someone to post simply to aggravate my members
    I am not here to aggravate anybody or to make enemies. I simply wanted some questions answered. Some were answered, some were not, and I got flamed for some of my posts. I would say that I was the one being aggravated first, but that really doesn't matter. I am sorry if I offended anyone. I just wanted some help.

    a quite ugly site, I might add
    Yeah my site looks like crap - because it is not finished. I do it in my spare time, and most of little amount of time that I devote to it is spent doing research, not web design. When the site goes live it will be a nice looking site with useful content.

    We're answering your questions
    Thank you all for answering my questions, especially pam712 for your intelligent and professional response and amatuer's first post. Amatuer, I am not dishonest. And I agree with what your said about resentment. I should have used the word offended instead.

    I don't think that I will be posting here again anytime soon. I came here as a straight shooter, and I will leave as a straight shooter. The GPWA isn't for me.

    Best of luck in all of your endeavours,

    Wayne

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    We offered help and answers.

    You offered insults to our portals and business practices, and argued with us about why you were right.

    Thank you for leaving.

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    So long! Que se ra, se ra.

    We should prolly archive this one...
    Regards,
    J

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    Default Regarding affiliate URLs

    I am new here but I know of a program that makes affiliate urls (pretty)

    http://casinoblasters.com/marketing_tools/linkhider.php


    Affiliate banners also have ugly URL's. Some people will not click on images if they can see that the URL is http://www.clickherecasino.com?affid...4&code=ABC.

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