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Casino City files first amendment lawsuit against Justice Depart

Casino City Inc. today filed a complaint against the U.S. Department of Justice in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Louisiana. The complaint seeks a declarative judgment that advertising online casinos and sports books is a commercial free press protected under the First Amendment.

In June 2003, the Ministry of Justice sent letters to various organizations, including the National Association of Broadcasters, American magazine publishers, the Independent Press Association, and the National Association of Newspapers. The letters demanded that the organizations warn their members that those who accept such ads may face prosecution.

Months later, the Justice Department issued subpoenas to various media outlets, internet portals, public relations companies, and other companies seeking further information about the purchase and placement of online casinos and sportsbook ads.

The Justice Department's actions have been widely covered in the news and have had a chilling effect on free speech. Popular internet portal sites, including Google and Yahoo, have recently gone without ads for online casinos and sports books. Many in the online gambling industry see the Justice Department's actions as racketeering based on the beliefs of some public officials rather than established laws.

Casino City's parent company has been involved in the gaming industry for many years. It created the first gaming portal site, , in 1995. Today, the Casino City website is operated by Casino City, Inc. and is currently the most popular site on the web, covering online casinos and sportsbooks, land-based casinos, gaming strategies, and news. It is part of a network of websites, including , which is dedicated to online gaming , which covers gaming news and offers visitors thousands of articles about gaming strategies.

When the Casino City website first launched, there were no online casinos, and online advertising was virtually non-existent. Today, however, iGaming advertising forms an important part of Casino City's revenue. Company CEO Michael Koffman says, "The public has the right to see the wealth of information we provide to casinos and sportsbooks, and we have the right to advertise online games on the web to support its free publication under the First Amendment."

The Justice Department's actions apparently affected Casino City. "Our parent company had a partnership plan with A&E Television Networks to promote Breaking Vegas documentaries and related sweeps. Casino City was scheduled to be featured on The History Channel website and 30 national television locations, but they already canceled the contract after the promotion began. We were told by our marketing agents that we felt there was an unacceptable risk because the A&E network was connected from our website to the online gaming site with just two clicks. If you have an FCC license that needs to be protected to keep your business going, you can't afford to take a chance with the Justice Department… Recently, a major casino in Las Vegas wanted to partner with our parent company for the promotion, but their lawyer canceled the contract because we were involved in online gaming."

Casino City believes that the actions taken by the Department of Justice are wrong and threaten our freedom of speech in violation of the First Amendment. We also believe that legal issues like these are appropriately determined by the courts and not by government officials who interpret the law in a way that many experts argue is flawed. Accordingly, we have today asked the courts to determine our rights under the U.S. Constitution and those of others similarly located.
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Saturday, February 3, 2024
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