Now sponsored by an online casino?

Why is an online casino one of Let’s Encrypt’s sponsors? According to the WHOIS, Let’s Encrypt is a US-based organization, and the last time I checked online gambling is illegal. IANAL but I don’t think it is a good idea for a US-based organization to be receiving money from gambling companies, even if they are overseas.


If I’m visited by an 18 year old US tourist, should I not offer them a beer?

If an online casino is benefiting from Let’s Encrypt, why shouldn’t they be able to be a sponsor? No laws are being broken.

I have no moral outrage.

You must make sure all your semi-legal activities are secured by certificates!

I don’t know how much you have to sponsor to be considered a major sponsor, but it could be used as a good advertisement. I’m also not that happy with the link to the somehow shady website of that casino, but Let’s Encrypt decided to link to every major sponsor right from the front page.

@kelunik, from Become a Sponsor - Internet Security Research Group

Corporate Sponsorship

Platinum    $350,000/yr (USD)
            $300,000/yr (USD) with a 3-year commitment

Gold        $150,000/yr (USD)

Silver      $50,000/yr (USD) 1000+ employees
            $25,000/yr (USD) 100-999 employees
            $10,000/yr (USD) 1-99 employees

I use OVH and Casino2K - out of the two Casino2K is the more reputable from my experiences. But I gamble online regularly. Not breaking any laws of course.

Any chance a Let’s Encrypt employee might make a statement regarding this sponsorship?

I don’t really see the problem here. This casino seems to be only available to Italian citizens if I’m reading the terms correctly, with mandatory ID checks and what not. They don’t even have an english version of their site. There’s nothing illegal or shady going on. Why shouldn’t they be able to sponsor Let’s Encrypt if they want to?


Maybe negotiate a term where there isn’t a link from the US-based English Let’s Encrypt website, and/or an interstitial?

I’m sorry, but it’s just baffling to me that this could be a problem for anyone. There’s nothing illegal about operating an online casino in Italy (as well as plenty of other developed countries), and they aren’t breaking any US laws either, because they simply don’t operate there. Why would an organization (co-founded by the EFF, by the way) chose to voluntarily censor their website because of something that’s perfectly legal and at best (apparently) a moral problem for some? That would seem like a huge double-standard, as is complaining about online casinos while talking about a country that holds what is arguably the gambling capital of this planet. :wink:


I guess you may want to look at this with your lawyers. I fail to see how removing a link to a gambling site which is a non-speech activity would be considered censorship? If it was a site that was about how to play poker but doesn’t actually conduct gambling, I would understand.
Under US law, there are strict restrictions on Internet gambling -

Right, but like I said, this casino doesn’t target the US market, and it doesn’t even allow anyone but Italians to use it. Can you please point out the law saying that it’s illegal to accept money from or link to a site that’s not breaking any US laws?

(To clarify, in case I’ve left the impression that I’m speaking for the ISRG: I’m not, this is just my personal opinion.)

Because... god?

Yeah, because god thinks US laws should be enforced around the world.

But what about BFeely's moral outrage? WON'T YOU THINK ABOUT BFEELY'S CHILDREN?!?!

1 Like

I’m not asking LE to somehow shut down a foreign site; I am only talking about how Let’s Encrypt announced the sponsorship and placed a link on the front page.

A friend of mine just brought up that is associated with and brings up possible Intellectual Property violations. In addition, that site has been flagged as malicious on

The website doesn’t even have a proper encryption certificate (also pointed out by my friend)!

Actually, that's not quite true. The law you cited makes it a crime to act as a payment processor if facilitating online gambling that is otherwise illegal under state or federal laws. Laws regulating gambling are usually handled at the state level. Those laws do not apply to 195 other countries or the other 6.8 BN humans on this planet – all of which benefit from secure encrypted internet traffic.

Within the US, advertising gambling can be illegal 0 but a disclosing a corporate sponsorship by a company that offers gambling is neither advertising nor the promotion of gambling activities.

Do you understand what censorship means? You are asking LE to voluntarily perform self-censorship on their speech by removing links to things that you find personally unacceptable.

There is no reference-to or promotion-of gambling activities; there is no advertising of gambling services. There is simply a logo and a link to a corporate sponsor of a foreign company.

In comparison, it is commonplace to see on tv corporate sponsorships and advertising by companies like 'full tilt poker' and 'poker stars', while it is illegal to gamble in the US on those sites.


I have no idea what that means. This sounds like "I heard they're bad."

You appear to be misinformed.

How does that disqualify them as a sponsor? I count 5 other sponsors who aren't using TLS on their homepage.

1 Like

"In addition, that sites has been flagged as malicious on"
I was not referring to which currently doesn’t have a calculated rating, but the site they promote which currently has a very low rating. Same with the IP violations. Sorry if there is any confusion.

This is based on a single review from 2013, and from what I understand it’s about a malware infection, which could easily be caused by some ad network (this has happened to some of the biggest news sites in the past).

Actually, a single review cannot set the rating on; there needs to be a certain threshold of ratings activity before a site can be rated on their system. Comments are optional.

It’s also based on the reporting user’s reputation, so a single vote from a user with a very good reputation might or might not be enough; the details of how the rating works aren’t public. Doing a quick search for that specific user shows almost 500 reviews, so it’s quite possible that this is the case here. WOT also has a confidence rating, which is a mere 2/5 for that site. Google Safe Browsing doesn’t report any issues either. Additionally, WOT doesn’t report anything other than a malware risk (which happens to be the issue reported in that comment from 2013).

Honestly, this all seems very far-fetched.