COURT DECISION ALLOWS ADS FOR GAMBLING ON TV, RADIO: NEVADA RESORTS TO UP GAMING ADVERTISING

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The door opened for gambling ads on TV and radio in nine Western states last week following an appellate court decision not to rehear its decision invalidating U.S. laws and the Federal Communications Commission's rulings curbing ads.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco without comment rejected the Justice Department's request that all the court's judges hear an appeal of a three-judge panel's decision.

STATES GAIN GAMING ADS

Unless the Justice Department appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court and the high court grants a stay, TV and radio stations in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington will be able to accept gambling ads, subject to state laws.

Nevada stations have been able to take such advertising since a lower court decision in 1993.

"Clearly now [Nevada resorts] would be able to advertise," said Ellen Whittemore, attorney for the Nevada Resort Association. "I think [the resorts] will increase their advertising."

"We have never done a lot of gaming-specific advertising, but for some other properties it could have a great impact," said Phil Cooper, VP-public relations and advertising for Caesars Palace.

The National Association of Broadcasters said the decision moves one step closer to throwing out the law nationally, but also advised broadcasters to check with their attorneys.

The law and FCC regulations overturned by the appellate court had barred broadcasters from accepting ads featuring slot machines or games of chance. Casino ads about food or non-gambling entertainment were allowable.

The Court of Appeals panel in February found that because federal law allows Native American groups to air casino ads and non-profit groups to air lottery ads, "it is impossible for [the government] materially to discourage public participation."

SOME ALLOWED BEFORE

The decision by the appeals court comes as several other challenges of the same rules proceed. In New Orleans, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals-which had upheld the same law and FCC rules-is now reconsidering a suit by New Orleans broadcasters in light of some freedom to advertise positions the U.S. Supreme Court took last year in overturning Rhode Island's ban on liquor price advertising.

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