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Nearly 800,000 Drivers Just Unwittingly Became a Rolling Advertisement for Foreign Gambling Site - Are You One of Them?

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Hundreds of thousands of Maryland drivers may be surprised to find out that their license plate might be an advertisement for a Philippine gambling site.

Around 13 years ago, Maryland printed the URL www.starspangled200.org on hundreds of thousands of license plates to commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812.

The historical event led Francis Scott Key to write the poem “Defence of Fort M’Henry,” which was later adapted into the “The Star-Spangled Banner” as the national anthem.

But over the years, it appears the state has failed to preserve the link, resulting in it now being used by an online casino based out of the Philippines.

The license plates are used on 798,000 Maryland vehicles.

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This means about 15 percent, according to The Washington Post, of all the registered vehicles in the state have unwittingly become advertisers for “Philippines Best Betting Site,” as reported by WTTG.

The site promotes gambling through online casino games such as Baccarat, Blackjack, Poker, and Slots, among others.

The discovery was first made by a Reddit user whose curiosity led them to the site.

Would you be upset if this license plate was given to you?

“I was never a fan of having a plate celebrating the War of 1812, but I’m even more upset now that I (and tons of other Marylanders) are driving advertisements for international online gambling,” the Redditor wrote.

Ashley Millner, a representative for Maryland’s Motor Vehicle Administration, told the Post that the agency is currently working with their IT department “to identify options to resolve the current issue.”

“The URL is not and was never owned or maintained by the MVA,” she clarified to the outlet, noting that they in no way support the online casino.

According to Millner, the URL was previously “maintained by Star Spangled 200, Inc., a nonprofit formed under the War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission formed in 2007 through an Executive Order.”

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However, the non-profit has since been disbanded, the Post reported, citing a representative for the public relations firm who once worked with the group.

Reddit users have suggested that the site probably expired under the previous registrants and was then hijacked by a third-party.

The Redditor who discovered the mistake added in a follow-up comment that they pity the government workers who now have to fix this issue.

“I do feel bad for the employees having to deal with this. It’s unlikely that any of them were making the decisions back when these plates were being planned. I can certainly empathize with how crappy it is having to be the public face defending / fixing the problems caused by predecessors,” the user wrote.

“That being said: this whole thing is, objectively, hilarious.”

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