So _THIS_ is why I can’t advertise on Google or Yahoo!

“In 2007, Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo! settled [US government] claims that they profited from gambling ads by agreeing to turn over a total of $31.5 million in cash and public-service warnings.”

That comes from Joseph Menn’s excellent Fatal System Error: The Hunt for the New Crime Lords Who are Bringing Down the Internet, a book I’m reading about cyber-crime. It’s an eye opener.

Menn discusses PartyPoker and PartyGaming, which he claims was started by Ruth Parasol, who he alleges to be a former porn-site and phone-scam empress and is now an extremely wealthy woman.

Menn also claims that online gambling in the USA is mostly run by organised crime groups, operating out of Costa Rica and Dominican Republic. Many of the characters sound like they are straight out of The Sopranos, and have blackmailed and cleaned out some celebrities. These shady operators themselves were extorted by Russian-based hackers, who threatened (and carried out) DDOS attacks unless they were paid hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Not being American, this is all news to me. Now I know where Patrick’s Scum and Villainy concept comes from.

He also discusses the Absolute Poker and UltimateBet scandals. That’s the only thing I’ve read so far in the book that wasn’t something I already knew.

Full Tilt, PokerStars, and Ongame Network are, so far, unscathed by Menn.

I highly recommend the book.