United States Attorney Catherine L. Hanaway, one of the foremost crusaders against the online gambling industry, announced Wednesday that Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo! have entered into settlements with the United States “to resolve claims that they promoted illegal gambling.”The settlements are as follows:

Microsoft – $21 million

• $4.5 million to the United States
• $7.5 million to the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children to help it establish a fund to assist with its mission.
• $9 million to fund an advertising campaign aimed at young people, informing them that online gambling is “illegal under U.S. law.”It will run for three years, starting in early 2008.

Google – $3 million (presumably directly to the U.S.)

Yahoo! – $7.5 million

• $3 million to the U.S.
• $4.5 million for an online ad campaign to “inform and educate users that operators and participants in online or telephonic sports bookmaking and casino-type gambling activities doing business in the United States may be subject to arrest and prosecution.”It will run for three years.

Despite the United States’ claims that online gambling is illegal, Ms. Hathaway herself said in recent testimony before the House Judiciary Committee that there is no federal law which makes it a crime for people to gamble online.It is only illegal to run an online gambling business.

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