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Online Gaming Advertisement Ban Reaches New Heights in Florida

The law against the advertisement of online gaming in the US has received much criticism since its introduction, due to its inconsistency with existing gambling laws, and the obvious fact that the prohibition is of something entirely unrelated to online gaming itself (advertising, which is strongly founded on free speech principles). The criticism has intensified this week, following new developments in the federal case against the BetOnSports advertisers, which has been in process for some two years now.

Three of the defendants, William Hernan Lenis, William Luis Lenis and Manny Lenis, all plead guilty in a St. Louis court to their involvement in the advertising of the sportsbook website, BetOnSports. The ‘crimes’ to which the three family members plead guilty included the interstate transportation of online gambling merchandise, the transmission of online gaming information, and misdemeanor counts. In return for their pleas, the court agreed the investigation and any further charges that could otherwise land them in jail.

Hernan Lenis is the owner of a mailing company called “Direct Mail Expertise”, and between the year 2000 and 2006, the company distributed approximately two millions BetOnSports advertisements. The Lenis attorney insists that the family was involved in marketing aspects only, and that operation of the online gaming website was completely unrelated to them. Yet all three Lenises will be charged in October, with jail time a strong possibility for some of them. The family’s petition to change online gaming laws does not look very promising.

OCA News Editor