High court gambling-ad case leads to free speech issue

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The U.S. Supreme Court today heard oral arguments on an important commercial free speech case involving gambling advertising, and a majority of the justices seemed to indicate in questions that they were debating not whether to overrule a gambling-ad ban but how far to go in using the case to expand corporate free speech rights. In the gambling case, the Greater New Orleans Broadcasters Association is challenging federal laws and Federal Communications Commission rules that bar privately owned casinos from using broadcast ads to promote gaming. The broadcasters today suggested the ban is unfair and has no effect in preventing gambling because their competition, including state lotteries, racetracks and Indian casinos, can advertise. Several justices strongly questioned the laws.

Copyright April 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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