he investigation by Hanaway's office, the Internal Revenue Service and the FBI dates to 2000, she said. Her office has negotiated with the companies for more than a year, she said. "This is a very profitable business that had a lot of money to spend on marketing," Hanaway said of the online gambling companies that advertise on the Web.
All three companies said they stopped taking the ads years ago.
Microsoft's us$ 21 million portion of the settlement includes a us$ 4.5 million forfeit, us$ 7.5 million to be paid to the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children and us$ 9 million in public service ads to run over three years starting next year.
The public service campaign will be aimed at informing users, especially those of college age and younger, that online gambling is illegal. Microsoft said it stopped accepting ads from sites associated with online gambling nearly four years ago.
"This agreement reflects our ongoing commitment to online safety," the company said in a written statement. "We're hopeful that our educational campaign will stop young people from gambling before they start."
Yahoo's us$ 7.5 million share of the settlement includes a us$ 3 million forfeiture and us$ 4.5 million in public service ads over three years.
"Yahoo stopped accepting online gambling advertisements years ago, and after the US attorney's office contacted Yahoo with its concerns, we worked cooperatively over several years to reach this settlement," spokeswoman Kelley Benander said in a written statement.Google is to pay us$ 3 million, less than half its average daily profit of us$ 11 million.
"While we did not admit any wrongdoing, the Department of Justice has advised that online gambling is illegal in the United States and ads to promote it are improper," spokesman Jon Murchinson said in a written statement. "Google voluntarily discontinued running such ads, which were a very small part of our AdWords business, in April 2004."