ANTI-CASINO AD RULES DIE IN WEST: HIGH COURT DECISION OPENS GAMING OPTIONS

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The U.S. Supreme Court raised the odds last week that casinos around the country will soon be able to tout their gaming attractions in TV and radio ads.

The court let stand a '97 decision by U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that struck down federal rules banning TV and radio ads for casino gambling.

The high court action technically affects only the nine western states covered by the ninth circuit (including Nevada). Ad groups and broadcasters said it will provide new momentum in other parts of the country. A U.S. District Court judge in New Jersey has already ruled the ban on TV and radio ads for casino gambling violates the First Amendment.

INDUSTRY SHOULD TAKE HEART

Said First Amendment expert and New York University Professor Burt Neuborne, who wrote a brief in the ninth circuit court of appeals case on behalf of advertising groups: "The advertising industry can take heart that [the decision] is a signal that the courts' commitment to the free flow of accurate information in a commercial setting is as strong as ever."

National Association of Broadcasters President-CEO Eddie Fritts said in a statement that NAB "believes the high court will ultimately strike down the ban nationally."

Gambling and ad industry groups see multiple effects from the decision. Casinos that promote their restaurants and shows on TV and radio can now show and advertise their gambling attractions. But the bigger advantage may be for smaller casinos without restaurants and shows. They now get the ability to run ads, probably mostly on radio, promoting games and gambling tournaments.

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