While a recent decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out virtually all federal curbs on their advertising, marketers of gambling-oriented products and destinations may have some trouble convincing cable networks to do the same.
With the exception of Travel Channel, none of the cable networks contacted by Advertising Age accepts spots that actually show people risking their money.
Resort-oriented advertising, however, does a little better, although a slight majority rejects that as well.
"We will take Las Vegas tourism and we might take specific hotels but we do not take gambling per se," says Mr. Divney.
NO PAYOFF FOR 21
Court TV will accept spots from resorts, but "wouldn't take a book on how to win at blackjack," for instance, says Mr. Barton.
He adds that the network also doesn't accept telephone psychics or any other form of 900-number.
"If it was tastefully done and satisfied whatever the legal requirements would be, we would probably accept it," says Lifetime's Mr. Guy.
Actually, there's another reason why gambling ads aren't much of a factor for cable networks.
"We don't really do any national buying. All the properties basically draw from local populations," says Jim Geoghegan, corporate media director at Trahan, Burden & Charles, Baltimore, which buys media for Harrah's, one of the biggest players in the gaming business. "There is just not enough critical mass" for a national buy.
FIREARMS ON ESPN
ESPN stands alone among cable nets contacted by Advertising Age in running firearms or ammunition ads.
That said, Jeffrey Mahl, senior VP-advertising sales for ESPN, points out that the network does not take many gun ads and those they do are generally "part of a client-supplied show [for] very, very specialty interests."
Not all firearms are treated the same. ESPN does not accept handgun spots or those aimed at people concerned about personal safety.
"We accept ads for rifles and shotguns-hunting guns-in hunting and fishing programming but probably not on any other programming," Mr. Mahl says.
Though ESPN did not volunteer the information, according to one agency media buyer, the network's policy also specifically forbids "mammal-killing" in any creative for firearms.
CNN, TNT and TBS accept spots for hunting accessories such as clothing, but they have "never taken national spots for guns and ammunition. We do not take them as a product at all," according to a spokesman for Turner Broadcasting Sales.
Mr. Silvestri says USA and Sci-Fi won't take firearms advertising.
"We have never thought it was appropriate to advertise guns. It is in bad taste," he says.
Comedy Channel "won't take gun [spots] because we don't believe in them. We even turned down a National Rifle Associationschedule," says Mr. Divney.
ENCOURAGES ADVOCACY ADS
Court TV would be happy to take NRA ads, Mr. Barton claims, "since we encourage all advocacy advertisers."
But the network has never been approached by a firearms marketer and would not take their spots even if they were.
The same goes for Lifetime.
"That is a category we would not accept," says Mr. Guy, "though I am not aware