MVA reclaims domain on license plates that had advertised Philippine gambling site

Published 6/9/2023 6:13 p.m. EDT, Updated 6/9/2023 6:45 p.m. EDT

The Maryland 1812 license plate's website license plate leads to Philippines gambling site.

Nearly 800,000 Marylanders with a license plate commemorating the bicentennial of the War of 1812 are no longer unwittingly advertising the services of an online gambling site based in the Philippines.

The Motor Vehicle Administration has reclaimed a website domain displayed at the bottom of every plate — — that for several months had redirected to, a site promoting online casinos in the Southeast Asian country.

The domain now redirects to the MVA’s homepage and will do so going forward, according to a Friday statement.

The MVA took “immediate action to reclaim the expired domain and prevent further misuse,” the agency said.

“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,” the agency said.

The domain originally belonged to a commission in charge of planning the state’s commemoration of the 200-year anniversary of the war, but then changed hands several times beginning in 2016.

According to internet archive snapshots, the domain was turned into a promotional tool for online casinos in the Philippines sometime between August and December 2022, though it is unclear what business created or ran the site or how it obtained a web address linked to a centuries-old war in the U.S.

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