HBO not gambling with online betting

HBO cancelled an in-ring boxing series sponsorship deal with an online betting site, following a vote earlier this month by the House Judiciary subcommittee on crime approving a bill that would ban Internet gambling.

HBO cancelled an in-ring boxing series sponsorship deal with an online betting site, following a vote earlier this month by the House Judiciary subcommittee on crime approving a bill that would ban Internet gambling, according to a report in the New York Post:

The sponsor, Sportsbook.com, had appeared on HBO in previous boxing matches sponsorships, but had this year's deal - which would have featured its logo on the ring floor and on its turnbuckles - pushed to less prominent locations…

The ads were to appear during the Ricky Hatton-Luis Collazo fight in Boston last week, as well as in the Marco Antonio Barrera-Rocky Juarez fight in Los Angeles scheduled for last night…HBO threatened…withholding its licensing fee - believed to be about $250,000 - if they didn't remove the logo from areas visible during the telecast

HBO's reluctance to prominently feature an online betting site advertiser illustrates concerns over increasing government oversight. The bill approved by the subcommittee would:

update and expand an existing federal law to cover all forms of interstate gambling within the United States, and would bar a gambling business from accepting payment in the form of credit cards, checks, wire and Internet transfers. It would also prohibit gambling on an estimated 2,300 Internet gambling sites.

Internet gambling is estimated to be a $12 billion industry and The American Gaming Association, national trade group of the commercial casino industry, is going on the offensive to stave off a ban on Internet gambling.

Its 2006 State of the States report touts the positive economic impact of the U.S. commercial casino industry—providing $12.6 billion in wages to 354,000 employees and paying $4.92 billion in state and local taxes—and portrays a typical U.S. Internet gambler as “under 40, college-educated, male and more affluent than his fellow citizens.”

The report also underscores a growing popularity of online gambling, while noting “confusion” about its legality: “a mere 19 percent…realizing – or willing to admit – that the activity currently is illegal in the U.S.”

Should online gambling be freely available? Join the conversation: “Talk Back” below to share your thoughts.

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