TV Helped Drive Traffic to Online Poker Web Sites, Irking Justice Department

In 2003 after PartyPoker.com advertized on one episode of “World Poker Tour,” then on Travel Channel, the website saw a surge in traffic, making it one of the most popular poker-gambling websites in the U.S.

“It showed the power of the television medium and what it was able to provide for the online business,” says Steve Lipscomb, founder of World Poker Tour.

That power quickly attracted the U.S. Justice Department, which in June 2003 warned in a letter to media companies and the National Association of Broadcasters, that they should “know the illegality of offshore sportsbook and Internet gambling operations since, presumably, they would not run advertisements for illegal narcotics sales, prostitution, child pornography or other prohibited activities,” according to a copy of the letter viewed by The Wall Street Journal.

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