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Microsoft, Google, Yahoo! Settle|Gambling Charges For $32 Million

ST. LOUIS (CN) - Three internet giants have agreed to $31.5 million in settlements with the United States to resolve claims that they promoted illegal gambling. Microsoft, Google and Yahoo! neither contested nor admitted wrongdoing in their agreements.

Microsoft will pay $21 million. The United States will get $4.5 million. The International Center for Missing and Exploited Children will get $7.5 million to establish a fund to help its national and international missions. Microsoft will spend the other $9 million on an online public service campaign against illegal gambling. The settlement resolves complaints filed against Microsoft between 1997 and June 2007.

Google will pay $3 million to settle claims that it received advertising payments from online gambling businesses between 1997 and June 2007.

Yahoo! will pay $7.5 million to resolve similar claims filed between 1997 and December 2007. The United States will get $3 million; the other $4.5 million will go to a public service campaign to inform gamblers that operators and participants in online or telephonic sports bookmaking and casino-type gambling doing business in the United States are subject to arrest and prosecution.

"These sums add to the over $40 million in forfeitures and back taxes this office has already recovered in recent years from operators of these remote-control illegal gambling enterprises," U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway said in a statement. "Honest taxpayers and gambling industry personnel who do follow the law suffer from those who promote illegal online behavior."

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