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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Google, others breach e-gambling law?

Search engines with Australian domains, including Google, are being investigated by authorities for possible breach of interactive gambling laws.

Australia's Interactive Gambling Act 2001 prohibits advertising of gambling services on Web sites where "it is likely that the majority of that site’s users are physically present in Australia". Banned services include online casino-style gaming services such as roulette, poker, craps, online poker machines and blackjack.

Breaching the Act carries a maximum penalty of AU$220,000 per day for individuals and AU$1.1 million per day for corporations.

Alexandra Mason, spokesperson for the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, told ZDNet Australia the alleged illegal practice by Google and other search engine operators was being looked into.

Google Australia displays advertising links to online gambling sites when certain keywords are misspelt. But the Internet giant isn't alone -- little-known Melbourne-based search engine company Web Wombat has admitted to such activities.

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