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Maryland License Plates URL No Longer Directs to Philippines Casino Website

Maryland License Plates URL No Longer Directs to Philippines Casino Website

The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) says the website address listed on nearly 800K license plates that remain in use no longer directs to a Philippines-focused online casino website.

Maryland license plates Philippines online casino
The Maryland Department of Transportation in Salisbury. The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration recently paid $1,000 to reacquire a URL that’s printed on nearly 800K state-issued license plates. (Image: Maryland Department of Transportation)

Early this month, state officials became aware that the URL printed on one of the MVA’s popular license plates commemorating Maryland’s involvement in the War of 1812 directed to an online casino platform targeting gamblers in the Philippines.

The website,, took visitors to a webpage that discussed the advantages of gambling online with a Filipino operator.

Maryland began issuing the War of 1812 tags in 2012. The plates were available for automobiles until 2016.

When the license plates were first issued more than a decade ago, the URL took visitors to a page that was operated by a state agency that sought to inform the public about the historical events of the war contested between the young United States and the United Kingdom.

The US defense of Fort McHenry at the entrance of the Baltimore Harbor inspired Francis Scott Key to write a poem that was later set to music and became known as “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

URL Acquired

The website on Maryland’s commemorative War of 1812 plates was later bought and used by the US National Park Service for the federal agency’s Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail. The 560-mile trail extends from Tangier Island in Virginia north through Maryland, the District of Columbia, to the Chesapeake Bay and Baltimore.

It’s unclear when the National Park Service allowed the website address to expire and the domain to become purchased by another entity. But as reported this month, at some point the address was bought by an online gaming firm based in Curacao.

The website was owned by Gaming Curacao, which holds an internet gaming “Master License” in the Caribbean island country. Curacao allows iGaming firms to target players offshore in countries where such internet gambling isn’t allowed.

Maryland’s MVA, responding to the media reports that almost 800K Marylanders are driving billboards for an online casino website, sought to buy back the website from Gaming Curacao. The state agency told local reporters that it used a domain broker to successfully reacquire the address.

In partnership with the state Department of Information Technology, the MVA engaged the services of a reputable domain broker and was able to successfully recover the URL earlier this week. Going forward, the MVA will maintain the URL, which will redirect visitors to the agency’s homepage,,” an MVA statement explained.

FOX5News in DC reported that the Maryland MVA paid $1,000 for the URL.

Domain Prices

The Maryland MVA was presumably more than willing to spend $1,000 to resolve the license plate URL controversy. Though available domains can be purchased on sites like GoDaddy for as little as $3, more prominent online addresses often go for big bucks.

And with Gaming Curacao seemingly with the upper hand in the negotiations, the $1,000 fee is a small price to pay. Other websites, including those in the global gaming industry, have gone for much more.

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