With more online gambling companies coming forward with news of a Washington state cease and desist order on industry press releases distributed by state-based PRWeb, it is becoming clear that earlier reports on the ban (see previous InfoPowa reports) were accurate.
The reports are that PRWeb, which offers a distribution service for business press releases, has had to inform online gambling corporate customers that it can no longer accept their material following a cease and desist order from the Gambling Commission of its home state of Washington.
Initially regarded as too extreme a move even for a state with as implacable an opposition to Internet gambling as Washington, it has transpired that editorial staff at PRWeb have been advised by management that "....PRWeb will no longer be publishing releases that promote or link to online gambling or related websites. This shift in editorial has been prompted by legal considerations and brings us in line with the stance that other notable organizations such as Google and Yahoo are currently taking with regard to promotion of online gambling in the U.S.”
A notification to the PokerSource site broadened the explanation, advising that PRWeb had received a Cease and Desist letter from the Washington State Gambling Commission requiring that it immediately halt the distribution of press releases promoting online gambling sites and content.
Unofficial estimates are that up to 5 percent of PRWeb's business could be affected by the ban; cancelled contracts have been accompanied by offers of a refund, and the new restriction could prove expensive for the third party services provider.
PRWeb's parent, the Maryland-based Vocus group has been repeatedly approached by InfoPowa for comment on the ban, so far without a response.
Washington state has accrued some notoriety for its hard-line approach to online gambling whilst allowing most forms of land gambling. The state has gone so far as to make gambling over the Internet a Class C felony punishable by measures usually applied to far more serious and personal crimes.
The PRWeb ban, which is being interpreted by industry observers as a threat to the principle of freedom of speech, will affect many of the Internet's leading gambling companies that used the service to distribute press material.
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